WRITTEN BY: RACHEL DEERY
When I received the invite to the last show of The Underwater Sounds, I was both surprised and sad as the nostalgia sank in. I remember first hearing about Bell Tower Music through Sonni Shine back in 2010. One could often find Shine playing her acoustic out by the Bell Tower. Watching their music video again, “Airplane” produced by Bell Tower, it reminded me of how far they’ve come and how much they’ve grown as a band. The dreads have come off and the sounds have evolved. The Underwater Sounds were always a great local ska/reggae band, and as a vocalist I admired Sonni’s level of live performance, so this was a show I did not want to miss.
Even though the doors had only just opened Underground Arts was already bustling with familiar faces and long time fans of the band. Although the mood was bittersweet, the band members themselves could not be seen without smiles across their faces and arms wide open for hugs. They each had devoted 6 years of their lives to The Underwater Sounds. Now they part ways, to explore new projects and new chapters of their lives, ending their musical journey together at this final farewell concert.
The show began with The Rosemary Fiki Band opening and I have to say they sure knew how to warm up a room. I only wish they had a longer set. Rosemary was an incredible front lady, with powerful vocals and playful movements. Not to mention that she was also one sassy MC. They did this Radiohead cover of “15 Step” that really got the crowd going, but their original music is definitely worth checking out. The Snails were a hoot and a half. They were dressed to kill. Looked like Buddy Holly and the Crickets, sounded like some modern blues, rock, reggae hybrid. Their egos were a little too big for my taste as they quickly unplugged and walked off without a glance at the crowd, but whatever. That’s rock ’n’ roll I guess.
The Underwater Sounds definitely played like it was their last show. It was a set they could be proud of. I couldn’t help but notice that there were no hard feelings to be found on stage or in the audience. There was nothing but an overwhelming sense of love and togetherness. Sonni acknowledged how she too was feeling these vibes and expressed her gratitude for all that her friends and fans have given her. The night was not without its spectacles. There was a lovely glowing lady hooping on stilts. Also one of the highlights was mid-show when an audience member – who Sonni said had been there since the beginning – got up on stage to propose to his girlfriend. She said yes of course! Sharing this evening with all of those beautiful people and talented musicians was a rare life moment.
If you missed the show at Underground Arts Feb. 5 you can hear some of their final recordings from Visions of Love & Light Pt. 2 on the Bell Tower Hour or support the band’s last studio effort by purchasing a download.
“Thank you all for all of the amazing years of love and joy. We will never forget this experience. We are proud to present to you our last studio effort: Visions of Love & Light Pt. 2. We will release an additional 4 tracks on a B-Sides album within the next year. Stay Tuned” – The Underwater Sounds (2009-2016)