Iration, Natty Vibes bring reggae-rock to Vail’s GoPro Mountain Games
If you go ...
What: Iration. Natural Vibrations opens
Where: Checkpoint Charlie, Vail
When: 6:30 p.m., Friday, June 5
More information: Visit www.mountaingames.com
Vail, Colo. — Each June, the GoPro Mountain Games brings together bikers, climbers, kayakers, slackliners and other athletes, as well as people who simply want to marvel at the talent on display and enjoy free live music. That’s why diversification is key when it comes time to plan the music each year, said Dave Dressman, the director of sponsorships for the Vail Valley Foundation.
The free music portion of the games kicked off Thursday evening with Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, which Dressman called “blusey, funk rock ‘n’ roll.” Saturday night G. Love & Special Sauce brings its “jammy rock ‘n’ roll” to the stage. But first things first. Friday night is all about the island vibes.
“Friday night is reggae night,” said Dressman, who helps plan and book the music with Diane Moudy of Resort Entertainment.
Santa Barbara, California-based band Iration headlines tonight’s concert with its reggae-rock sound. Hawaiian band Natural Vibrations, a band that’s been bringing its reggae-roots-pop music to the masses since 1996, opens the show.
“Reggae always wins,” said Dressman, commenting that the genre has consistently been popular at the Mountain Games over the years and has always drawn a good crowd. “It’s great summertime, barbecue party music.”
Iration was the final band to sign on to the Mountain Games lineup, Dressman said.
“We were super happy when they committed,” he said.
Iration’s guitarist and singer Micah Puesche agreed the band’s music is well suited to summer and all that the season brings.
That’s why the band decided to release its new album during the summer months, specifically in August. They surprised fans with a sneak listen when they dropped the song “Reelin” in late April.
“We wanted to give a head start and something to tide (fans) over until the album is released,” Puesche said.
“Reelin” is a sonic glimpse of the record to come, which is called “Hotting Up.” Puesche said “Hotting Up” is a British term used often during the soccer matches he loves to watch.
“It means gaining in excitement, or becoming more exciting and more tense,” he said. “It’s a summer record and all of the songs tend to be more up-tempo and beat driven.”
David “King David the Future” Manzoor (Lupe Fiasco, R. Kelly, Lloyd) produced the album.
“He comes from the hip-hop landscape and so he really helped us put that edge on the songs and added a little more of that rhythm and beat,” Puesche said. “It’s a very danceable record and not as varied as our previous record, ‘Automatic.’”
Indeed, it’s more akin to “Time Bomb,” which while released in 2010, remains in the top 20 on Billboard’s reggae album chart. Expect to hear two to three songs from the new album at Friday’s show.
FROM THE SEA TO THE MOUNTAINS
Iration has a strong fan base in Colorado. They performed twice at Red Rocks, the first time performing along with Sublime with Rome and then again last August at Reggae on the Rocks, where they did a sold-out show with Rebelution.
“We’re going to try to be back there next year — (Red Rocks) is awesome,” he said.
Iration performed in both Breckenridge and Aspen this spring, Puesche said.
“It was really fun,” he said. “The only tough thing is it’s so much elevation. For us, even walking around everywhere had us breathing heavy … but other than that, we love it.
“We all are from Hawaii and grew up surfing, but we love to snowboard and ski and love to be in the mountains as well,” Puesche continued.
‘THE ALOHA SPIRIT’
Natural Vibrations, otherwise known as Natty Vibes, promises a “whole new show” Friday night, said Wayne Enos, the band’s guitarist and singer.
“We’ve got a couple of new players, a few new super talented people and a bunch of new music and some stuff I can’t tell you about right now,” Enos said during a recent phone interview.
While Natty Vibes will open the show tonight, it hasn’t always been that way. Back in 2007, Natty Vibes took Iration on tour as their supporting band, Enos said.
“They just continued on and kept that tour going forever,” said Enos, who called the members his “buddies.” “They’re still on that same tour if you ask me.”
Both bands have Hawaiian roots. Natty Vibes lives in Oahu and the members of Iration initially met while growing up in Hawaii and reconnected in California. The bands have more than a genre in common.
“We’re the kind of bands that bring the aloha spirit,” Enos said. “We love and care for each other, and it’s all about those kinds of higher vibrations.”
High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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