SOJA sells out Ineffable’s new Ventura Music Hall

Ventura Music Hall spoiled me on July 23rd. The bowling alley-turned-music venue (recently opened in March 2022) welcomed Kyle Smith, The Elovators and SOJA to the stage for an unforgettable night of reggae rock music (with a splash of punk rock thrown in).

It has been about 14 years since SOJA graced a stage smaller in size than an amphitheater, lead singer Jacob Hemphill mentioned to the sold-out crowd. Photographers were invited to photograph the entire set of all three performances from the pit, too, an experience not common among musical performers of such magnitude.

Kyle Smith, currently residing in Ventura, opened the show with the bangers his fans have come to know and love off his debut album, Lost Cause. The rail was already packed as drummer, Scotty B. “Beats” counted off… bassist Chris Nishida had a special supporting guest — his son, Kai, who was right at home, pumping up the crowd.

The Elovators took the stage with a tough act to follow, but, of course, did not disappoint.

The high energy level, the melodic sounds of Jackson Wetherbee’s voice carrying the crowd away to the place that only music can take you to… you gotta love The Elovaters. The band put on a show that you didn’t want to miss (and sorry to those who did). Check out their upcoming schedule to see if they are coming to a town near you!

Headlining was GRAMMY Award winners Soldiers of Jah Army, familiarly known as SOJA. The intimate-sized venue created an easygoing environment that gave attendees the opportunity to experience the back-and-forth riffing between Hemphill and bassist Bobby Lee Jefferson, who channeled their inner Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney, respectively, when playfully recreating the banter between the two in the hit song of 1982, ‚ÄúThat Girl is Mine”. It was a truly magical night, filled with unforgettable moments that many will hold dear to their hearts for years to come.

Photography by Jenna Shaw

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