On this autumn evening in Southern California following the thanksgiving holiday, it was cold and the Santa Ana winds were strong. We had planned on linking up with Ital Vibes at The Federal Underground venue in Long Beach where they were the opening act for Reggae Superstar & Cannabis Advocate, Jesse Royal. This historic landmark was once a bank and now converted into a dining and bar establishment gleaming with Speakeasy vibes. Walking into the massive open cathedral style building, there was a bank teller cage lining one side of the hall and an old school speakeasy style bar on the other. Having not seen a stage of any sort, we weren’t quite sure if we were at the right place. Soon we were greeted by the hostess who pointed us to a door which led us to underground playing hall; “they’re setting up downstairs”.
As we made our way through the winding stairwell, a calm came over us when we began to hear instruments being tuned and the guys from Ital Vibes making small talk as they prepped their stage for their performance. We kicked backed and watched the guys perform a few warmup tracks before we went backstage with them for a session. Fittingly, the venue had converted the Bank Vault into the back stage dressing room and lounge. Adam Kovalsky, Tour Manager, and lead-singer - Kennedy Peneueta-Peapea got things situated as the dab mats and heady rig from @leisureglass and carb-cap from @averyyork colored the table top and prepared the gang for a proper sesh.
As the evening progressed and we got to catch up with a few of the other Ital Vibes band mates before hearing that Jesse Royal had just entered the building. Soon enough, Jesse enters the backstage lounge with herb in-hand as he greets and twists one up. Everyone backstage was excited to see Jesse Royal, and the fans in all of us begin to engage him. When Jesse was asked about his musical influences, he didn’t hesitate to name a few of his inspirations;
“Thomas Anchor, real leader, you know what I mean, Gong, Tosh, Super Cat, Yellowman, Junior Cat, Nicodemus, Sean Paul, Shaggy, Bounty Killa, Sizller Lusha, Bruno Mars… Don’t get it twisted, it’s a music on music thang, so you notice Sean Mendes bad too, you know what I mean, it’s not like you have to look a certain way to…” said Jesse Royal
Showtime approached and we began to hear the crowd through the bank vault walls. I could see the guys from Ital Vibes were getting in the zone as they performed a final mental prep before their performance. Introducing the 7-piece Roots band starting with Kennedy as lead vocalist, Jeremy ‘Levy Dozier’ Kary as vocalist and insane lyricist. Evan Hein on the bass, and Andy Deemer on the guitar. We have Juston Sanchez on rhythm keys, and percussionist, Jacob Sanchez. Last but finally not least, we have Aaron Valdez on the drums, who also agreed to rock our 710 beanie for the evening; appreciate you, Brother!
The Ital Vibes show was sweet! They performed some of their upcoming tracks on their Roots Run album, as well as their classics Move Slow and Tuff. The band rocked hard, Kennedy spread mad love with his deep roots and melodious vocals followed by strength and fire by Levy Dozier spitting nothing but flame. Let me say this again, Levy Dozier spits nothing but flame, and he brings an incredible element allowing the group to connect with today's Reggae Rap fusion fans.
Time came where the crowd was introduced to the headliner, Jesse Royal, who opened his set giving praise to none other than Jah Rastafari. Spreading a message of love and peace, Jesse gave the crowd what they came for and more;
“More Justice. This is the Generation my friends. We will put People over Money. Love over Fear. Peace over Wars. Overstanding over All.” said Jesse Royal
Be on the lookout for the upcoming Ital Vibes 'Roots Run' album release in February 2018.
Special thanks to: Ital Vibes FAM Jesse Royal Adam Kovolsky (Tour Manager) Kennedy Peneueta-Peapea (Lead Vocalist) Jeremy "Levi Dozier" Kary (Rapper/Vocalist) Aaron Valdez (Drums) Evan Hein (Bass) Andy Deemer (Guitar) Juston Sanchez (Rhythm Keys) Jacob Sanchez (Percussion)