Concert Review: Passafire and Stick Figure
By: Juan Barragan
Passafire and Stick Figure
Belly Up Tavern
8 August, 2013
It was shark week and there was no better place to celebrate it than with a concert at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach. It is a spacious concert hall with a variety of seating and standing locations to suit every kind of patron. Particularly fitting given the week was the massive shark that hangs from the ceiling overlooking the dance floor. Situated a couple of blocks from the beach, the acts for the night could not have chosen a better location to create the ocean vibe many reggae bands strive for.
Passafire was the first headliner of the night. A reggae-rock band from Savannah, Georgia, Passafire proves that the California-dominated genre can be just as successful as bands that are based out of California. Although unknown to many in the reggae community around the nation, the group has a healthy band of loyal followers that always pack the shows they play and sing along to almost every song. That night was no exception. The song that got the crowd really pumped near the beginning of the set was “Kilo” off of the Submersible album. Will Kubley’s (Passafire’s bassist) work on this song tested his ability to create a groovy solo using an uncommon bass picking technique that is not often seen in the world of reggae: Kubley uses a pick. Near the end of their set, Passafire performed “Submersible” off of the aforementioned album. This was one of their hit songs that most people in the crowd knew enough to sing along to. They proceeded to finish their set with, Feel it, from their self-titled album, followed by their most famous song, Ghost Man. The bands good vibes with these songs prepared the crowd for the next band due to take the stage, Stick Figure.
Stick Figure is a band that is also generally unknown to many in the reggae community in California. Hailing from Duxbury, Massachusetts, Scott Woodruff is the composer, producer, and artist, who single-handedly created Stick Figure’s first four albums. The music of Stick Figure can be described as a combination of dub and roots reggae. Woodruff decided to move out to California in 2009 and has since then added other members to the Stick Figure lineup that helped create their fifth studio album that catapulted the band to the number one spot on both iTunes and Billboard charts in the reggae category. Those in the crowd with knowledge of Stick Figure’s music knew that they were going to be treated to a good show with good music. That was exactly what the band delivered that night. Playing a diverse set comprised both of old a new material, the fans got to enjoy dancing along to the band’s most well known songs such as “Vibes Alive,” and “Livin’ it” off of their fourth album, Smokestack. Halfway through the set, the perfect addition to the night walked on stage to share the vibes with the crowd: Cocoa, the band dog. Stick Figure played a few songs from their new album, Burial Ground, such as, “Breathe,” and “Burial Ground,” both of which are already fan favorites. The night couldn’t end without an encore. They finished with “Hawaii Song,” a song in which positive vibes reverberated throughout the venue as the crowd sang, “I love this world and all it can do for me.”
Without a doubt, both Passafire and Stick Figure are two bands that have a great stage presence and can make any crowd rock out. You can find their music through regular online music sources, or you can stream the bands’ material for free through Spotify.