SOJA at Mr. Smalls Theater 5.26.11 by Erika Banks
As a new contributor for TSI, I was excited that SOJA would be my first show to cover here in Pittsburgh as they are one of my favorite reggae bands. They are a festival favorite and international touring act that brings dance style reggae/rock/dub blend to every show they play. I have attended 4 shows in the past year that included SOJA in the line-up and all have been great. So naturally I was expecting a great show and that’s what I got!
The show began with a group from West Virginia called Fletcher’s Grove. I was pleasantly surprised by their funky jam band rock grooves. They were a great way to start the show and get the crowd moving and shaking. As they ended their set, the next band up was Cleveland’s Tropidelic. Their blend of alternative reggae and hip hop gives this group a summer feel while still remaining timeless. This band’s groovy sounds mixed with turn-tables lend a party band vibe and definitely excited the crowd.
As SOJA take the stage you can feel the energy rise in the crowd. The bass lines start kicking and the crowd starts moving. The set was a variety of songs from older albums like Peace in a time of War, and their latest full length Born in Babylon. The energy stayed strong throughout the set and only magnified when a toddler joined Jacob Hemphill and Bobby Lee onstage for a song! Overall, the show was as great as any SOJA fan has come to expect. The band finished up this tour over the Memorial Day weekend, and will resume touring on June 10 at the Harmony Festival in Santa Rosa , CA. They will also be joining OAR for several dates on their summer tour.