Busting a mission to celebrate The Movement in Columbia, MO

On the steamy afternoon of June 12th, fueled by anticipation and a deep love for good music, I embarked on a journey that took me two hours west down I-70 from the bustling city of St. Louis to the vibrant town of Columbia, Missouri. The purpose of this pilgrimage? To join fellow reggae enthusiasts and celebrate the 5th year anniversary of The Movement’s iconic album Ways of the World at the intimate and charming Rose Park, the outdoor stage portion of Rose Music Hall.

With brand-new band Aurorawave and the dynamic duo of KBong & Johnny Cosmic opening the show… down the highway I went.

A lineup like that made it almost impossible to wait for this tour to come closer to town! I arrived at the venue right as bands were sound-checking and even then, the air was charged with excitement and the unmistakable buzz of pre-show anticipation. The merch booths and bars were being set up, drums and guitars were being mic-checked and tuned, the lively atmosphere was evident, and it was clear that it was going to be an epic night.

The whispers of the continuously growing crowd after doors had opened were hinting at the buzz surrounding Aurorawave, the new band of Iya Terra‘s Nathan Aurora on its inaugural tour. It was hard to miss the ripples of excitement emanating from their VIP guests after the meet-and-greets, which have steadily been drawing in an ever-growing legion of new fans at each tour stop. Nathan Aurora’s singular blend of reggae and hard rock/heavy metal seems to be striking a chord with audiences and the band — consisting of Tanner Arebalo on drums, Ray Worrick on bass, and Mike Mocerino on guitar — is executing the Aurorawave vision to perfection. If you have been following the band or Nathan on social media at all in the months leading up to this tour, you know how hard the guys have worked to put together a memorable first show and it was clear that all of that hard work had paid off. From the LED video content to the stage lighting, Aurorawave is making sure fans remember the first time they saw this band. Moreover, the imminent release of Aurorawave’s new self-titled album on August 2nd hung in the air like an electrifying promise, especially after getting a live taste of more sensational music to come.

KBong & Johnny Cosmic came to the stage next, immediately infusing the crowd with a reverberating energy. KBong’s ceaseless movement and unwavering smile, paired with Cosmic’s mesmerizing guitar prowess, brought about smiles on faces. Their high-octane performance helped guests to forget about the final waves of heat as the sun went down and focus on the enjoyment of just getting to hear good music. Playing a mix of Johnny Cosmic originals, KBong originals, and singles written by the two together, the set was overall super entertaining and I can’t wait to catch these two again down the road.

Aa the opening riff of the album’s title track rang out, the ‘Ways of the World’ 5th anniversary show had begun.

The Movement have been a favorite of mine for a while now. Having been fortunate enough to witness their evolution over the years (first encountering their music back in the early 2010s), I looked on with pride and excitement as they embarked on the celebratory performance of an album that rocketed them to another level with incredible songs like “Redwoodz”, “Orange Sky”, and “Loud Enough”, along with the emotionally charged tribute to vocalist Josh Swain’s challenging years, “Remember (The Return)”.

I’ve seen The Movement probably four or five times at this point and each performance gets better and better. Their music has become so complex and beautiful, Josh’s lyrics are so deep and his vocals are off the charts… I swear, it’s like he is able to sing an entire verse without taking a breath — it’s wild. As the evening drew to a close, I felt a profound sense of fulfillment, having gotten the chance to witness an exceptional performance by all three bands. The electrifying atmosphere, coupled with the heartfelt and passionate performances, made the drive to Columbia more than worth it.

If you get a chance to catch this tour, don’t miss out! Tickets are still available for the few remaining dates, along with Aurorawave VIP passes, although they are running out fast, and of course Ways of the World is available everywhere. KBong & Johnny Cosmic are further releasing singles this summer, like their cover of “With A Little Help From My Friends”, and make sure to check out the Aurorawave self-titled album on August 2nd!

Photography by Thomas Semonco

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