Even with the crisp air of autumn in full swing and the frigid chills of winter right around the corner, the unmistakable sensations and atmosphere of that sizzling summer heat was still rocking like it was the Fourth of July in the middle of October, when citizen of the world and singer-songwriter HIRIE brought her Mood Swing Tour to St. Louis on the 14th. Out on the road with pop reggae artist Surfer Girl and the incomparable Maryland beach rockers Ballyhoo!, HIRIE and her band are in the heart of a nationwide tour promoting the musician’s latest album, which happens to also be called Mood Swing.
Up first that night inside Delmar Hall, just west of downtown St. Louis, was a New England-raised beach-pop artist by the name of Surfer Girl. It was my first experience hearing this guy and the energy him and his band brought to the crowd was totally ideal for an opening act.
You could feel the fire and excitement being transferred to and from the crowd from the very onset of the show.
It definitely did not hurt that it was really good music facilitating that transfer of energy and excitement. As the rest of the crowd gradually filled the venue throughout Surfer Girl’s set, they were greeted by a high-octane stage presence that — without a doubt — left an impression, as well as a drive to hear more music!
Crabcakes and football, that’s what Maryland does! Apparently, it also produces what has become a staple of the east coast reggae sound, along with a highly sought after producer in the reggae world in the form of Aberdeen-born reggae-punk legends Ballyhoo!, led by the icon Howi Spangler. I have to be honest, I was really looking forward to this one. Being from one-third of what is known as the DMV (D.C., Maryland, Virginia), I have been a fan of Ballyhoo! for quite some time; there is just something about their music that screams that it is from the Mid-Atlantic and it speaks to me. In all of those years, though, I had only gotten a brief glimpse of this band at Cali Roots back in 2017, so when the opportunity presented itself again, I jumped at the chance and believe me when I tell you, these guys do not disappoint. After being around for almost 30 years, these punk-infused reggae heads left me hypnotized with their set of hits spanning their entire catalog.
It was well worth the wait.
Headlining the evening was HIRIE. An awe-inspiring artist who pushes a strong message of hope and purpose to her fans, HIRIE’s message is only outweighed by the joy and love that overflows out the front door of the venue after one of her performances. Following the theme on this night of firsts, this also was my first time experiencing a HIRIE show and I really hope it is not my last! Everyone on stage was dancing and smiling the entire performance and really showed off how much fun they were having. Again, it doesn’t hurt when the music is as good as it is, too. Overall, it was a fun night and the show left very little to be desired. If you have a chance to check out the Mood Swing Tour, I would highly recommend it and don’t forget to listen to HIRIE’s new album, available everywhere now!
Photography by Thomas Semonco