Written by Liza Moscatelli
Californian roots reggae band Groundation has returned to Australia this month to celebrate their seventh album Building An Ark. The first time they toured Australia, it turned out to be a massive sell-out nationwide. I was pretty excited that this year was the first time that I ever got to see them perform live.
Upon arrival at Manning Bar at Sydney University one noticed the lack of audience. I could see large floor space, which was somewhat embarrassing and I kind of felt embarrassed for the support acts especially when conversations were happening in the midst of their set. However, lets face it, it was anticipated the room was going to be filled by the time Groundation came on. Thus I kept a mental note to do some band stalking post the show.
As one arrived just before the support act Budspells started their set, one was impressed by their unique style, and they drew the audience in with their massive energy. They were that good that my buddy and I relocated ourselves closer. The audience seemed timid to get up close and personal with the band as they maintained their distance.
All things suddenly evolved as anticipated, the room started to fill just as Groundation’s lead singer and guitarist Harrison Stafford stepped foot on stage to check that his equipment was ready to go (or perhaps to tease the audience a little). A few keen fans whistled with excitement as it was anticipated that the band was about to start the show.
Groundation made their way to the stage and played a string of familiar tunes from their previous albums, some of which included “Jah Jah Know”, “Babylon Rule Dem” and “One More Day (Live It Up)” as well a taste of their new album Building An Ark. The band members seemed to meditate throughout their set as they closed their eyes throughout each song and at times opening them again as they scanned the room. Whatever they were doing, I found myself reciprocating their action, which surprisingly felt quite soothing. The backing singers were also quite entertaining as they began to belt out their most random dance moves. It was as if they were dancing in freedom.
By the end of the show I was on a high, not of weed, but of their performance. It was an uplifting experience – perhaps relaxed is more of an appropriate term. One cannot categorize Groundation as merely a reggae band but a band of spirituality with roots and jazz influences. The band had consistently spread out good vibes throughout the night. I would definitely like to see them perform again the next time they return to Australia.
Be sure to check out Groundation’s seventh album Building An Ark which is out now and also available for purchase via iTunes. For more information on the band visit Groundation‘s official website.
Review Score: 4/5