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Concert Reviews

Reggae Rise Up 2023

With Iration, Fortunate Youth, Artikal Sound System and Cydeways

Saint Petersburg, Florida, in November. Reggae, outside with a spotless sky and 80 degrees. Who’s in? We are. That said, we like to keep these reviews sweet and simple when we can but if we’re to order this list from wow to meh, we’re going to start with Artikal Sound System as the Wow and Fortunate Youth as the Meh. Iration was solid and Cydeways is “too small a sample size to tell.”

Let’s start with A.S.S., or more specifically, Logan Rex. She is the quintessential front-man, or in this case front-woman. In other words, her energy, her vibe, just absolutely elevates this band’s game. The band is tight and can play anything but their bread and butter needs to be, playing what fits Logan. This is not take anything away from their sound but whew, if you get a chance to see them live, you’ll understand what we mean. they primarily play a lot of Florida gigs but check their tour schedule and if they’re near you-run and get tix.

We’ll be honest, Cydeways opened the show but we felt like we needed to see and hear more of them. Why? Because they sounded great. Go listen to the song, “Shadows” and tell us we’re wrong. They’re categorized as an “alternative” band but we’re gonna place them in the reggae genre.

Next up was Artikal Sound System and frankly, we felt that they needed to be deeper in the lineup as they were only slotted for a 45-minute set, and TBH that wasn’t enough. Following A.S.S. was Fortunate Youth.

As night fell on the show and the weed cloud settled atop the crowd, Fortunate Youth took the stage. The crowd was pretty thick directly in front of the stage and that led to an anticipatory vibe that never happened. Whether it was the near-hoarse, raspy voice of the lead singer or just the disjointed sound, we came away from their set as if the 6-7 musicians were just meeting for the first time. Something was off. Maybe it was the sound? Maybe it was the weed? All we knew was that at some point, being upfront or stage left just was not delivering the experience we were hoping for. All bands have an off night and this felt like one of them.

Last but not least was the headliner Iration. As expected, the crowd got that blend of reggae, rock, and pop elements characterized by laid-back rhythms, catchy melodies, and a beachy vibe. They were solid, tight, and entertaining. They got the crowd into it often and early. if you’ve not heard of them, check out the songs, “Time Bomb”, or “Summer Nights”, they have a total beach vibe which was perfect for St. Pete. Need more convincing? “Falling” is just and was, the perfect hand/arm swaying jam that can pull even the most reluctant fan of reggae.

All in all, the venue was a perfect blend of location, weather, and vibe. Given the size of the crowd. Reggae is on the Rise Up. 🙂