The evening of the Rebelution Good Vibes Tour in Costa Mesa kicked off with a strong start while the sun was still high. Sunny vibes radiated from the stage right from the get-go with the chill sounds of DENM. DENM’s set is layered, with a big band to back him up, and an audio production that is top-notch. The band has a masterful quality when it comes to the usage of effects that resonate with the Cali vibe.
Each song embodies the soul of the culture they are influenced by from DENM’s unique take. With this band, you get a diverse set that rocks hard and then kicks back when the time is right.
One moment DENM is shredding on the guitar with a punk rock pulse, and the next he is serenading us with soulful raps. To our surprise, the night was full of cross-band collaborations and DENM was the first to do so with Selwyn Brown, keyboardist and singer for Steel Pulse, joining them to sing on a track. His vocals blended perfectly with the band’s performance and it was one of the many high points in the set.
Next up was Steel Pulse themselves, who had the crowd going wild from the very beginning of their set to the very end. The sun had started to go down and the light show was starting to bring on the Rasta ambiance, with red, green, and gold being the arching theme throughout. This was excellently synchronized with the mood of each song, as Steel Pulse put on a performance with an intense energy.
For a band who has been touring since the ‘70s, nothing seems to have slowed them down. With the band’s amazing vocal harmonies, catchy guitar riffs, bouncing bass, synth keys, and brass section backing everything up, they create a symphonic experience; a large voluminous auditory layer-cake that seems meant for the big stadium venue like the Pacific Amphitheatre.
The lyrics left us reflective as Steel Pulse uses their music as a means to send a positive message and that message hits hard. After leaving the set, we found ourselves pondering how much change the band must have seen during its years on tour, and how much of a positive influence they have been throughout the years as agents of change. Their message has always been on the “pulse” of what is relevant today and continues with each performance. We felt lucky to have been there to see it.
Now the vibe was right. DJ Mackle was warming up the crowd for Rebelution and the mood was electric.
By the time Rebelution hit the stage, night had descended and the amphitheater was set ablaze with a full-spectrum laser lightshow. Rebelution emerged under beams lighting hot pink and purple smoke, wasting no time firing off the night with their hottest hits. It really was a visual feast to go along with the main course of music.
That being said, the sound quality from every area of the arena was astounding, and one of the best venues we’ve heard the band play in. There isn’t a bad seat in the house. Every song is a hit with the fans and Rebelution had the crowd in the palm of their hand, everyone was singing and clapping along to the music.
As the night went on, Rebelution brought out violinist Simone Jackson to play on a couple of songs. We only wish she was on stage longer, as she really lights up the stage with her presence and adds an awesome flavor to the Rebelution sound.
Soon thereafter DENM was brought onstage to rock out with Reb, which was an epic guest appearance. We hope they’ll do some studio work together in the near future and release a new track. In addition to these previous guest appearances, the bass player of Steel Pulse, Ronald McQueen, stepped out to perform with the band. Without skipping a beat, he crushed every note on the bass while the band was ecstatic to have him there.
Each collaborator left hugging the band. There’s an obvious love and mutual respect the artists have for each other and this was the essence of what brought the good vibes. We hope to see a recurrence of this tour someday as it was one for the books. Keep an eye out for each of these non-stop hard-working bands touring in the fall.