On Feb. 19, an intimate crowd was lucky enough to catch Iration headline the Majestic Theatre. In the wake of this performance, it’s no wonder why the nationally acclaimed band has continued to grow in popularity since its birth in Santa Barbara, Calif., where it took over the college town one live show at a time.
The reggae-influenced band is on its Automatic Tour with special guests Micah Brown, Natural Vibrations – also known as Natty Vibes – and The Movement. Although their most recent tour stops have been throughout the cold and frigid Midwest, these groups brought from home some much needed summertime vibes.
The night began at 8 p.m. when southern California solo artist Micah Brown took the stage wearing a L.A. Kings snapback, Marilyn Monroe t-shirt and an amplified acoustic guitar strapped over his shoulder. He didn’t need any backing musicians or a pick for that matter; his folk and blues playing featured heavy downbeats and impressive finger-plucked licks. The singer-songwriter got the show started playing through songs like “The Isle of Her” and “Good Feelings,” the lyrics of which portrayed a tropical island utopia.
Hawaii’s Natty Vibe was second in the lineup, warming things up further with their sunshine reggae. The music featured very active drumming and bass complemented by keys, guitar and cheerful lyrical content, often in the form of love songs such as “Shawty.”
Next was The Movement, who took the stage with a more eclectic style of music, featuring airy breaks and rock-influenced reggae at others. The drummer’s powerful playing and cutting piccolo snare coupled with the band members’ enthusiasm – often jumping up and down, or in the case of their dread-locked bass player’s antics kicking their leg up comically – upped the building’s energy even more.
Finally after all the buildup, Iration hit the stage. The West Coast band started their set with fan favorites including “Turn Around” and “Electricity” prior to taking a short break during which singer Micah Pueschel poked fun at Wisconsin’s drinking reputation saying things like, “Wednesday is the new Friday” and “You guys drink every night of the week, don’t you?”
The band then returned to “Electricity” for a reggae-influenced jam, after which the set strayed away from their older, easy-going sound when a rock heavy intro led into more recent songs off their album Automatic, such as “Mr. Operator” and “Back Around.”
The band’s variation of style helped keep the audience fully focused and engaged. They paid homage to Bob Marley himself, playing their own cover of “Is This Love” before the set closed with a few more recent tracks including “This Love” and classics like “Summer Nights” and “Time Bomb.” Iration’s set was not only an exciting performance but also a showcase of their musical ability.
The night came to a bitter end when the band came out for a two-song encore, playing Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” and their own “Falling.”
With Iration’s rock music to the other band’s sunshine reggae and Micah Brown’s folk-influenced blues, the Majestic was filled with positive messages, great music, long hair and hella good vibes Wednesday.
As Micah Brown said early on, “Make sure you spend your sunlight wisely.” That’s good advice for us Vitamin D-deficient Madisonians.