Summertime on the Monterey Peninsula is fast becoming defined by the sound of reggae rock and the concert promoters at California Roots.
On the heels of their sold-out May music and arts festival, California Roots presents The Summer Mix-Up, a daylong concert event that serves almost as a mini-camp for their previous two-day festival. Gates open at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Monterey County Fairgrounds.
The Summer Mix-Up lineup is punctuated by headliners Tribal Seeds out of San Diego, who headlined the inaugural California Roots Festival in 2010.
Popular Hawaiian band The Green and Santa Cruz-based Thrive are also on the bill. Just Chill, Salinas’ Wasted Noise, One A Chord, The Closeouts and Keep It Lit round out the bill.
The top three acts are top-shelf bands on the growing American reggae scene. Thrive and The Green have achieved Top 5 sales on the iTunes reggae charts.
Tribal Seeds is led by the Jacobo Brothers — Steven Rene on lead vocals and Tony-Ray on keyboards and production. Steven handles most of the lyric writing duties, while Tony-Ray write the music.
Tony-Ray Jacobo spoke with GO! Magazine about the band, the emergence of American reggae music and performing on the Peninsula.
Q: Are all of the guys in the band Mexican-American?
Q: Does your cultural heritage inform the music?
A: For some of the guys it does. A couple of the guys’ first language is Spanish, and they’re heavily influenced by
Mexican culture. I think it does come out in the music and the performances. We had our guitarist Tony Dread do a Spanish verse on one of our songs called “Libertad.” I think that’s a little bit of the flavor that we bring to it.Q: I thought it was interesting to have a Mexican-American band doing reggae-rock. It seems like a melting pot within a melting pot going on there.
A: Right. We’re all roots reggae lovers. That is our foundation. And we get to put our own flavor into it.
Q: Talk about coming out of San Diego. Was there a reggae scene coming out of there?A: Yeah, there’s a big reggae scene. I think it’s grown over the years. I used to go to concerts growing up, since I was in elementary school. And I think more recently, a lot more middle school kids and high school kids in San Diego have been really into the (reggae) music. There’s been a lot of young people coming out to reggae shows. We’re stoked about it and we’re happy it’s spreading. There’s a strong scene down here.
Q: You guys performed in 2010 at the inaugural Cali Roots Festival. Is there any memories or stories from playing that first ever festival?
A: Yeah. It was raining during our set. I think that was the first time we ever had to perform during the rain. But that was cool, because the kids stuck around and they were raging. It was good vibes. I think Rebelution played. And Iration. We’re all good friends with those guys, so it’s always a good time when we get to hang out and play shows together with them.
Q: What was it like to get a top billing in a festival that was geared toward your guys sound.
A: We were excited about it. It goes back to the thing that the (American) reggae scene is spreading and growing. We’re glad that’s happening. Bands like Rebelution and Iration and SOJA are doing the same things. It’s just getting more recognition around the country and worldwide. We’re stoked about it.
Q: What’s it like performing and working with your brother?
A: We both have the same tastes in music. We both want the same things out of our music. Sometimes we can get into it (laughs). We’re not afraid to really (share our opinion) because we’re brothers and we have that relationship with each other. For the most part, we like the same thing and it just kind of clicks.