It was a frigid November evening… maybe it was December, and it was the year 2010. A little venue, at a little town in New Jersey was playing host to some reggae bands from the West Coast. Some obscure band from Hawai’i no one had heard of opened the show. At the last song of their set, something interesting happened. The roadie, who sets up the stage for the bands at each tour stop, stepped into the middle of the sparsely populated venue and let loose – jumping and stumping to the rhythm. This was just the opening set, and for him and a few others the show was practically over. Fast forward to a relatively mild November evening of 2013. Three albums and countless tours later, the no-longer obscure Hawaiian band called The Green, had Gramercy Theater in downtown Manhattan packed to the hilt. This time, even if he was there, there was no space for the roadie.
The Good Book tells us that you don’t light a candle and place it under a basket. And thankfully The Green have taken those words to heart. From the very beginning they chose not to be content with playing at home on the beautiful islands of Hawai’i. Instead, right after the release of their freshman album they began touring the mainland, coming all the way to the East Coast. The self-titled album, to the surprise of even the band, later went on to win iTunes Best Reggae Album of the Year. Asked how touring has contributed to their success, lead guitarist and vocalist Zion said, “I know that touring has been a huge part of any success The Green has had….” This simple statement underlines the fact that no one stays home and becomes great.
A hardworking and multi-tasking band, The Green play some of the sweetest reggae of this generation. At the Gramercy show, on stage were four vocalist, one main three-deck-keyboard player, two main guitarists, a sub guitarist, one bass player, a sub-keyboard player and a drummer. That would be a total of 11. The Green are just six members, but vocalists JP and Zion are also the main guitarists, Vocalist Ikaika also mans the three-deck-keyboard and picked up a guitar at the end of the show, and there is Brad the bass player who doubled on a single-deck-keyboard the whole night. The only two members who are pure specialists are main vocalist Caleb and the drummer Jordan, whose key roles are requisite of that level of devotion.
“Good vibes” is the best way to describe the three albums The Green band has released thus far. Regardless of the lyrics, their music always has a melodic lure that seems to render them love songs. “They sing a lot about love and vibes, the vibes within love; and they sing a lot about island roots,” offered an LA and New York based fan named Chalana at the Gramercy Theater. Zion however tendered this clarification ”all our music has always sounded like love songs, but they are not.” In explanation he talked about the Hawaiian term, Kauna, which means double or hidden meaning. “You’re describing the rain falling, or the trees, and the way the wind blows, but you’re not really talking about that. You’re talking about your lover. All of our music has always been like that. The songs that sound like love songs are not really love songs, they are about something else.”
Back home in time for Thanksgiving, The Green completed a 28 city coast-to-coast tour, selling out the Honolulu and San Francisco shows. On the night they performed in New York City, their sixth visit to NYC in 3 years, they had already performed four shows back-to-back over four consecutive days. After hanging out with fans at the end of the show at Gramercy Theater, they hopped on their tour bus and made their way to Boston for a performance the next night. That would make six shows over six days. It’s this level of hard work and dedication that has enabled The Green to take their music with its sublime melodies and thumping beats from sea to shining sea, converting fans and making friends along the way. As Zion says, for them “it’s a continuous journey” and they hope to next take their music to the rest of the world. New Zealand, Brazil, Spain, Germany… the world, can you hear The Green coming?!