When Iration, the reggae and alternative rock band, first announced their 2022 tour, one of the bands that would have opened was Katastro. But on May 12, Katastro lead singer Andy Chavez was killed in a car crash.
Some fans who attended Wednesday night’s concert were still saddened by the news. They originally hoped to see the band perform in Fresno before news broke.
After what appeared to be his closing song, California band Iration lead singer Micah Pueschel took a moment to honor the late Chavez with a message telling him to “rest in peace” and saying the band will “be forever missed.” him.
The band then played an encore with a cover of Katastro’s “The Way I Feel”, with a packed crowd jumping up and down inches from them.
On Wednesday night, Iration hosted their “Sunshine & Summer Nights Tour” with Atmosphere at the Rotary Amphitheater in Woodward Park from 4-8 p.m. Fresno fans ate, drank and enjoyed a varied setlist of reggae, rock and hip-hop.
Alternative rock and reggae band Passafire opened the show, replacing Katastro’s spot. It started with his song “Down That Road” with a smooth reggae beat, powerful vocals from Ted Browne and hard-hitting drums from Nick Kubley.
Although the band is based in Georgia, Passafire incorporated their appreciation for Fresno throughout the performance. They shouted out a recently opened cannabis store in Fresno, “The Artist Tree.”
He then performed other hit songs like “Dimming Sky”, “Just Bid” and “Leave The Lights On”. Pianist and guitarist Mike DeGuzman was a standout performer, playing catchy guitar melodies, using dialog on the piano, and playing bass guitar behind his back.
Passafire brought much-needed energy to the crowd during the 100-degree heat, but the next act didn’t slow things down.
Setting up his Mac and wearing a giant red turntable around his neck with his name plastered across it, DJ Fresh started his set with some crowd work. The Detroit hip-hop producer released his signature jazz samples with 808 drums that rocked the amphitheater.
All this to introduce the rapper with whom he created one of his “Tonight Show” mixtapes with, The Grouch.
The Grouch took the stage rapping “Never Die” with the crowd swaying left and right to DJ Fresh’s production. The Hawaiian, The Bay-based rapper performed every bar with ease, showing his mastery of delivery thanks to his nearly 30-year career.
He performed fan favorites “Put Up Your 1s” and “The Bay to LA.” The Grouch also released their rap group member Living Legend Sunspot Jonzs. The Oakland rapper brought the energy with his dancing, unique voice and hype-man delivery.
During one of the songs, he commented on how beautiful all women are and deserve control over their bodies, commenting on the overturning of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade case.
Sunspot Jonz also highlighted the importance of “our lives”, he said, referring to the Black Lives Matter movement. Seated, Sunspot Jonz and The Grouch performed with each of them raising their fists in the air in protest.
They ended with a song from their band Living Legend, “Never Fall”.
At this point, the stadium was at its peak of fans as they awaited the headliner, Iration.
They kicked off with an unreleased song titled “Nose Dive,” and although most fans didn’t know the track, the audience didn’t falter.
Instrumentation from the horn section, comically named “The Horny Boys”, on guitars, bass and drums filled the amphitheater with melody.
Songs like “Falling” and “We Hail from the 808 State of Hawaii,” a callback to the band’s origins, fuse reggae and rock, and each member showed focus and passion throughout the performance.
The band consists of Pueschel as vocalist/lead guitarist, Adam Taylor on bass, Joe Dickens as drummer, Cayson Peterson on keyboard/synth and Micah Brown also on guitar/vocals.
A press release for the tour explains: “[Iration] are on tour in support of their latest full-length album ‘Coastin’,’ which debuted at number two on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart when it was released in June 2020. A record about being grateful for the times we have .
According to the press release, the evening’s final act, Atmosphere, also celebrated the 20th anniversary of her sophomore album, “Lucy Ford.”
The rapper, Slug and DJ Ant capped off the evening with some stunning visuals from the lighting and video art. Slug provided humor with his jokes and explicit lyrics in his songs, but it didn’t sacrifice the levity of his performance. Like The Grouch, his vocal delivery showed nothing but purity.
He performed songs like “Where the Road Forks” and “Puppets”.
Before his performance, Atmosphere member Slug also showed his gratitude for being able to play alongside bands like Iration, and he also offered his condolences to Katastro.
The best way to pay homage to him was a pleasant evening of reggae, rock and hip-hop music.
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