With Iration being local legends here in Southern California, the FivePoint Amphitheater in Irvine was the perfect last stop on the tour on August 26th.
Just a stone’s throw away from the local bars that Iration used to perform at during the early days of the band, now Iration is closing their own tour and sharing the stage with renowned hip-hop poet, Atmosphere.
This quickly became a legendary co-headlining show that kept the sunny vibes going all night. The event kicked off with Passafire taking the stage by storm, and nothing but good vibes followed. Passafire has been rocking the stage since 2003 and this show was no exception. Their uniquely blended sound of reggae rock turned out to be the perfect catalyst for an amazing show.
As the crowds poured in, they were blessed to hear Passafire’s greatest hits as well as new songs from their 2021 album, “Strata.” With influences ranging from hip-hop to metal, their performance segued into The Grouch & DJ Fresh’s set nicely.
The crowd was already pumped by the time DJ Fresh emerged with a giant, candy red turntable and sampleboard strapped to his shoulders like an oversized electric guitar. The beat dropped as he hyped up the crowd even more before his collaborator The Grouch finally emerged onto the stage like a prize fighter ready to attack. Corey Scoffern, a.k.a. “The Grouch,” brought his entourage of homies to stack coordinated layers of vocals with his.
With 27 albums under his belt, it’s no surprise they sounded as smooth as they do in the studio. As a team, they bounced around the stage from the tops of speakers and subwoofers, livening up the crowd. With the pit area converted to a dance floor by the flows of The Grouch and his crew, the stage was ripe for another rap legend to hit the stage: Atmosphere.
Atmosphere started off singing to us with soft melodies under dim blue lights, but soon thereafter he was shouting into the mic through a megaphone. This is just one example of how the night ranges between extreme dichotomies with Atmosphere, the duality lying within the messages in his raps and the diverse sounds of his setlist. He really takes the crowd on a journey, which ranges from thought-provoking introspections on life spoken to the tune of a xylophone, to hard-hitting beats that he spits freestyle bars over at a breakneck pace.
Through the emotional twists and turns of Atmosphere’s set, his two DJs (which included his producer, Anthony Davis) supported him behind a light show tower that was well-synced to the feeling of each song. The overall messages and words spoken by Atmosphere to the audience left us appreciating the lives that we have and living in the moment.
Atmosphere took a moment to encourage fans to party safely and test their “refreshments” to be sure they aren’t laced with anything. He said there are too many people dying from overdoses of fentanyl-laced party drugs and warned against the dangers of these underlying risks. He recommended people keep Narcan handy when coming to shows in case something does happen, which could end up saving the life of a fellow concert attendee. He pleaded with the crowd, “If you see someone fall, you could be there to pick them up.” Indeed, many are plagued by addiction or make the ignorant mistake of taking drugs from an unknown source, so we respect Atmosphere even more than we did before for using his platform to promote such a thoughtful message.
After the savage yet sensitive set by Atmosphere, Iration had to follow up with a headlining act that was spectacular – and they completely delivered. Their production is just so polished. Under the fantastic stage lighting setup, Iration performed a plethora of their greatest hits with an infectious enthusiasm and unstoppable energy. Each member of the band contributes to their massive stage presence, both in the amazing sound they produce and the energy they emanate.
Over the years the band has grown and with the new members comes a more matured technical prowess when it comes to their musical execution. Micah Brown has solidified himself alongside Micah Puschuel as part of a one-of-a-kind front-man duo, with their hypnotizing guitar and vocals now converging effortlessly. In fact, every member of the band performs with the intensity of a front-man. It’s glorious to witness what each member brings to the table as they’re all rock stars in their own right and masters of their craft. The gratitude towards their fans drips from every pore as they leave it all out there on stage. In turn, the crowd reciprocates and everyone sings along with the music during the entirety of the show. This isn’t just a fanbase; it’s a family.
With so many bangers in their catalog, it must be difficult for Iration to choose a setlist! However, there was one song that Iration performed that had many in the crowd deeply moved. The night ended with a beautiful tribute from Iration to Andy Chaves, the beloved front-man and singer of Katastro. Chaves was supposed to be on the tour with his band, but unfortunately passed away in a car accident along with two other people in Newport Beach several months ago.
Every night of the tour, Iration’s last song of the performance is a cover of the song “The Way I Feel” from Katastro’s 2021 album, “Sucker.” They didn’t just cover the song, though; they played a vocal track during the second set of verses of Chaves’ voice while the band performs the music.
For fans of Katastro, this was a healing moment. It was as if, for a brief moment, Chaves was still with us. Andy Chaves was a true rock star in every sense of the word and one of the coolest, nicest people you could ever meet. His raw talent, overflowing charisma, and genuine nature can never be replaced; his absence leaves a large hole in this community. He will forever be remembered through his music that lives on in the hearts of his family, friends, and fans.