The second to last stop on Iration and Pepper’s Hawaiian Punch Tour was right here in Denver at the Fillmore Auditorium the night of Friday, March 4th. New Kingston, a reggae trio composed of three authentically talented brothers from Brooklyn, opened the Fillmore at 8pm. The easy-going yet happy-go-lucky vibe of their tunes was the perfect intro to the headliners of the evening.
It was obvious that Pepper’s large following is no smaller in the Rocky Mountain state than on the West Coast. Since they formed in the 90’s on the big Island of Hawaii, the band has released around eight successful albums after moving to the mainland in 2000. Pepper fans come in all shapes, sizes, ages and styles. Producing a rock-infused pop-reggae that sits well with a myriad of different genre taste buds, Pepper is just as good live as they are recorded. Last night was a great representation of the diversity you’d expect to find amongst their crowd.
Once the intermission hip-hop music ceased, the crowd erupted in a roar of excitement and anticipation. Carrying fans through a vibe-y as hell set, songs like “Freeze” would be thrown at us right after a mellow sit-down guitar jam-sesh with surprise appearance, Iration. Thank God for the massive size of the auditorium because the energy in the ballroom was beyond explosive. Pepper made sure to perform all of their hits such as “Stone Love”, “Stormtrooper”, “No Control” and “Ho’s”, as well as newer releases “F**k Around” and “Vacation”. To celebrate their phenomenal time on stage coming to a close, one of the lead vocalists kicked off his shoes and threw them into a starry-eyed audience. Then his pants and both socks became treasured souvenirs for the few lucky enough to snag them out of the air. The cherry on top was that he was wearing board shorts under his jeans, no surprise there!
After sufficient “Pepperation”, Iration took to the stage in front of an eager sea of fans. It was about 10:30PM, so those in the crowd that couldn’t hang much longer had made their way home, opening up a nice space nestled right in the front left corner facing the stage. Known for their sunshine-vibe reggae, it would have been ridiculously hard not to grin a little from the group’s classic beats.
They pleased their audience greatly by gracing us with “Turn Around” as their second song of the night. One of the most powerful goose-bump catalysts is being in a mass of strangers singing in harmony; lucky for us this happened countless times throughout the night. "Wait and See" and "Summer Nights" also proved to be favorites among those in attendance. Everyone in the auditorium was exactly where they needed to be, and it was seen plain as day on their smiling faces. Perhaps there was some help in this, besides the music… if you know what I mean. My favorite part of Iration’s set was when lead singer, Micah Pueschel, addressed Denver as the city where “the weed flows like the salmon of Capistrano”, a twist on a classic “Dumb and Dumber” quote.
The final stop on the Hawaiian Punch Tour commences tonight in Salt Lake City, Utah just a state over. We hope for a night just as epic as last night in Denver, but there’s no doubt it’s going to be hard to beat the Colorado-Hawaiian vibe! We also want to give a special thanks to the Fillmore for being such a naturally elegant venue that isn’t afraid to turn up the bass!
*Note all photos are property of Bass Feeds the Soul
Written by: Melanie Gordon
Photography by: Taylor Robinson