Tribal Seeds at home with Stranger

On December 10th and 11th of 2015, Tribal Seeds played hometown shows for all their original, roots fans. Top Shelf Reggae (TSR) caught their first performance with bands, Iya Terra and Stranger, with the latter band also coming from South San Diego, California. In fact, San Diego was in for a special treat, if fans were attuned to the fact that E.N Young, who originally played with Stranger, appeared as guest keys with the roots-inspired band. David Ornelas, the vocalist and frontman of Stranger told TSR that instead of playing original songs, which were created when E.N Young was with the band, they chose to stick with their current setlist. Needless to say, it was quite reminiscent of the old Stranger band to see E.N Young perform on keys and his infamous melodica.

Iya Terra, from Los Angeles, started the night with their roots-inspired reggae music. They seemed to do pretty well with a growing crowd, and managed to rile up early-arrival reggae fans, who may have showed up as early as 7:00p.m that Thursday night. Next up, Stranger came on stage with original members, including Daniel Montgomery and Aaron Hudson, but unfortunately, Nolan Clark, the drummer, was unable to make it. He is currently in Florida and according to Ornelas, he could not make it out for this unique showcase of E.N Young playing alongside Stranger.

Tribal Seeds

it was quite reminiscent of the old Stranger band to see E.N Young perform on keys and his infamous melodica

Speaking of E.N Young, it was interesting to witness the keyboard player perform with both Tribal Seeds and Stranger. Although it was reminiscent of the old Stranger band to see E.N Young play with them, with all honesty from this reviewer, E.N Young seemed to be more in his element with Tribal Seeds. Perhaps this was due to differing energies each band brings to the stage. Stranger has a more conscious, roots-reggae vibe while Tribal Seeds seems to not only pump up their crowd, but add more electronica to their music. Indeed, this was visible in their performance of “Vampire” that night.

Although Tribal Seeds is notorious in San Diego and all around the country, and even abroad as bringing youthful, roots-inspired World Music, their performance appeared a little off that Thursday night, and this may have been due to something as easy as sound check. To start, Steven Jacobo’s vocals were low, and backup vocals appeared a bit off. Also, although TSR has seen Gonzo appear with Tribal Seeds for years, his backup performance did not seem to accentuate the music well. One has to wonder why Gonzo has chosen to continue with Tribal Seeds versus going back with Fortunate Youth, considering both are national-touring bands. Not only that, it is apparent that Tribal Seeds has made room for both E.N Young and Gonzo to perform their solo music, and to this reviewer, that takes away from Tribal Seeds as a group. Although very diverse, Tribal Seeds needs to concentrate on playing their very own music for their very own fans. Admittedly, their current setlist took from all of their albums, and included such songs as “Beautiful Mysterious,” “In Your Eyes,” and “Love Psalm.” Their Thursday night show also featured a guest performance from New Kingston, who was scheduled to play the next night.

Tribal Seeds has an upcoming Winter Reggae Tour with The Skints from the U.K., and The Steppas from Hawai’i. The tour starts on January 7th. For more information on Tribal Seeds, visit their website.

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