BY Izzy Uknis
The chilly October night did not stop Pepper, Ballyhoo!, Katastro, and Bong Hits for Jesus from bringing all the island vibes to the TLA stage last Thursday.
The Three Amigos Tour began with Bong Hits For Jesus. This band, which got its start in their hometown Philadelphia, described their sound as a combination of alternative rock and “indie awesomeness.” Though the crowd was a little sparse during their set, Bong Hits for Jesus persevered with some awesome renditions of their songs, “High Up” and “Tuesdays.” They also incorporated some saxophone into their songs, which gave their reggae rock performance a bit of a jazz twist.
Next on the lineup was Katastro. This band hails from Tempe, Arizona, and seamlessly blends different rock, funk, blues and hip-hop sounds. Vocalist, Andy Chaves, and bassist Ryan Weddle were particularly good at hyping up the crowd by dancing around on different areas of the stage. One of their best performances that night was of their song “Move Like Creatures,” off of the Gentle Predator album. The performance sounded identical, if not better than the recording, which is a talent that very few musicians possess.
Ballyhoo!, a pop, rock, reggae band from Aberdeen, Maryland took the stage after Katastro. The crowd went crazy when “Walk Away” started playing. Right now, that song is Ballyhoo!’s number one played song on Spotify, so it’s not surprising that almost everyone in the crowd knew the words. They also performed their new single “Mixtape,” which was predictable, as the song came out in mid-October. However, the live version was played really well, and actually made me enjoy the song more as a whole.
Finally, Pepper, from the tropical Kailua-Kona, Hawaii came on stage. The 3-man-band combined reggae rock with alternative, ska, and dub in their delivery. They played a nice variation of songs off of their multiple albums, including both “Stone Love” and “Stormtrooper.” There wasn’t a song in the set that the crowd didn’t know most of the words to. Even the mosh pit in the corner of the room seemed to be appreciating the music in their own way.
Pepper has been together since 1997, and Ballyhoo! has been together since 1995, but Bong Hits for Jesus, and Katastro are both relatively new. It’s admirable that the latter were able to put on a comparable performance to those who have been around for about a decade.
If you can catch them on tour this fall I’d recommend going to the show. If not, I would definitely recommend going to any of their shows in the future.