Rootz Underground ADD

Review & Photos: Rootz Underground in Hermosa Beach, CA - April 24th 2014

04/26/2014 by MaryJane Irie Femind

Review & Photos: Rootz Underground in Hermosa Beach, CA - April 24th 2014

On Thursday April 24th 2014 in Hermosa Beach, California Saint Rocke presented Rootz Underground. The club is a great spot to enjoy live music, food and beverages. A low light setting brings out a mellow vibe in this venue and the colorful stage lighting brings more attention when the time is right. There were two opening acts before Rootz Underground. Ital Vibes a South Bay reggae band from California and Thrive a reggae band from Santa Clarita, California. Reggae music was in full force as these bands set the mood for the audience. The show started at 9pm and Rootz Underground set foot on stage around 11:30pm.

Excited fans of Rootz Underground were ready, and so was this well known Jamaican band. On stage was Charles Lazarus - Lead Guitarist, Omar - Rhythm Guitar, Leon Campbell - Drums, Colin Young – Bass and Paul Smith – Keyboard and Vocals. As they began to set the show off with a welcoming intro, their melody of a roots rock reggae sound got everyone’s attention. Instrumentals only and no sight of lead singer Stephen Newland just yet. Everyone began to get closer, knowing Stephen was about to walk on stage at any moment. The anticipation was over as he walked on stage with a deep facial expression of meditation. Chanting silently to himself he closed his eyes for a moment, vibing to the sound his band members were bringing. Watching Stephen praising to a source, preparing for an energetic and unforgettable performance was mesmerizing.

They started off with a few songs from their 2008 Album Movement. Hammer was the first track performed and a great tune because of the instrumental quality. Hearing the bass, drums and keys got everyone dancing. Time Is An Illusion set the mood of the night as Stephen pulled off his white knitted beanie and his dreads dropped and began to sway to the rhythm of his movement. His lyrics flowed through the air like a running river and fans began to sing along. “500 years of all them chains and guns-Infinite vibrations from my Binghi Drums. In the tabernacle we don't speak in tongues. Songs of revolution songs of redemption”, these are the lyrics that gives you a taste of history. You could feel the fire that blazed through as truth was being sung. Lots of energy is what Rootz Underground delivered. Throughout the performance fans were constantly jumping along with Stephen and singing tunes that they all know and favor. When each band member played their solo parts the crowd went crazy. They all brought a unique sound that not many reggae bands can deliver. Another signature song that many threw their hands up for was Rastaman Experience from their 2010 Gravity album.

Seeing Stephen kneel down, beating on a drum while Paul Smith aka Skubi was playing the keys and singing really caught my attention. Not only does their stage presence glorify their music, but the unity the band members show toward each other. Their sound favoring the roots of rock reggae is what they represent and their lyrics are most profound. Each song you hear brings out a new revolution and opens your ears to the true message of their music. Opening our minds to world issues and bringing forth truth through their music has been always their motive. The encore songs included Riverstone and 20 Centuries, also from their album Movement.


01. Intro
02. New Tan
03. Hammer
04. Time is an Illusion
05. Farming
06. Fret Not Thyself
07. History
08. High and Windy
09. Sunderland
10. Ban Me
11. Victims of the System
12. Love Again
13. Herb Fields
14. Rastaman Experience
15. In the Jungle
16. Return of the Righteous
17. Stronger Then
18. How Much Longer
19. Riverstone
20. 20 Centuries

With a new album in the near future called Return of the Righteous Vol.1 they have a broader idea of how they want to launch it to their fans. This album will hold a combination of the youthful energy from their 2008 album Movement and the maturity they gained from their 2010 album, Gravity. Now, before they shop it to record companies, they want to get the fans involved by asking for donations on Indiegogo, with rewards based on the level of donation. $5,00 will get you a single track download. For $7,000 you get a weekend in Jamaica with the band. The funds they collect will help Rootz Underground launch and market their album and help kick off their worldwide tour.

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