Photography & article by Geoff Clowes
Through The Roots have never been worried about bringing their Cali-reggae vibes to places far from their San Diego home. With tour stops up and down the east coast the band is setting fire to cities not known for beaches and fish tacos. It’s in venues like the Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale that the band, while out of their Southern California element that they are at their best. The small, dark club dates are a stark contrast to the open air beachfront venues of home but perfect venues to bring their positive message vibes to the otherwise uninitiated. Like the Arrival album, the shows are a beautifully unchoreographed night of dancing and grooving to reggae inspired surf music in which one song melts gloriously into another with only a minimal amount of banter. It’s here, showing off to the rest of the country that Through The Roots really shines.
The show follows Through The Roots on a journey, gathering influences from reggae to ska to surf infused beach music, sometimes all at the same time. Influences can also be found scattered throughout from high profile names the band has toured with including Iration, Rebelution, Tribal Seeds, and The Green.
The show started late after fellow Southern California reggae rockers Pacific Dub and local beach party band Fireside Prophets put on extended sets. Despite the later than expected start there was no grumbling as a relaxed vibe took over the cave-like Culture Room. The setlist was culled primarily from the bands newest release, Arrival, probably for good reason as this crowd may not have been as familiar with the 2013’s Take You There as a hometown crowd might have been. Which is a shame, as Take You There is a stunning album. Tracks from both albums were played with an energetic and chill vibe with no filler or fluff. There was only positive, hard-hitting lyrics and epic playing from all the members. Keyboard arrangements were crisp and tight and not overly dramatic while the guitar and vocals took center stage. The highlight of the evening was Come Home, from Arrival, a song of loneliness on the road and longing to, well, come home.
In one sense, this show was perfectly matched to the crowd, cool, chill music played for a cool, chill audience. In another it felt like two strangely linked, completely different entities that had somehow managed to find a simpatico for this night. Let’s all raise a glass and a fish taco to that fact..
Geoff Clowes is a South Florida-based live music photographer. He’s shot hundreds of bands over the years in three countries in venues giant and intimate; “but it’s always the local shows in the small venues that I look forward to shooting the most.”
“Music photography allows me to indulge my passion for music, photography, and travel at the same time. I am truly blessed to be able to photograph the bands whose posters once adorned the walls of my childhood bedroom while also getting a pit view of the newest up and coming acts. None of this would be possible without the support of editors that believe in my art and an understanding family.”
Geoff brings with him a wealth of experience and a poignant black-and-white style that strikingly captures the passionate spirit of the artists he’s shooting. Follow him on social media and his website, Sage and Spirit Photography.