While all the lovers crammed into the main room for Valentine’s Eve with Dashboard Confessional, a punky reggae party raged on in the Parish room at the House of Blues. The Expendables came through town with RDGLDGRN from Washington D.C. and Tribal Theory from San Diego.
The Expendables are from Santa Cruz, California, and though their main style is reggae, they incorporate a dash of punk rock, a pinch of alternative, and a heavy helping of metal in their music. They formed in 1997 and have collaborated with many notable artists such as Slightly Stoopid, 311, Pepper, and G. Love. Miles of Slightly Stoopid and G. Love have both recorded on tracks from The Expendables’ studio work. They’ve released six albums so far and are working on a new one from which the single “Stay Now,” featuring Eric Rachmany of Rebelution, has been released.
Tribal Theory started the show at 7:30. They were a relaxed blend of hip hop and reggae with two MC’s and some cool vibes. RDGLDGRN followed with a high-energy set. Pronounced “Red Gold Green,” this trio with a guest drummer was surprisingly light on the reggae sound. The guitar player “Red”, bass player “Gold”, and frontman MC “Green,” despite their names and color coordinated clothing, were a mix of hip hop and power pop. They had nice crowd interaction, and it was obvious some fans had come just for them.
The Expendables opened with “Starry Night,” the first track from their most recent album Sand in the Sky, and proceeded with a combination of hits from all their albums including “Down, Down, Down,” “Fight the Feeling,” “War Cry,” and “Let Her Go.” Their set was all over the place from clean skanking rhythms accompanied by sweet vocal harmonies to heavy distorted chugs and squealing harmonics. Delighted audience members passed up notes which the lead singer, Geoff, read politely to wish a happy birthday to one fan and happy anniversary to a couple in the crowd. Like many reggae artists, The Expendables are a pot-friendly band, and they didn’t tone down that aspect of their performance, despite the Parish Room’s great effort to snuff out the smoke. It was slightly disheartening because it felt as though the show would have been a bit more free and fun in a different state with some different laws. This was painfully obvious during songs like their cover of Slightly Stoopid’s “Sensimilla” and their metal-infused cover of Eek-A-Mouse’s “Ganja Smuggling.” However, even with the eyes of security vigilantly scanning the floor, the show was a success and The Expendables were called back for an encore. Geoff came out and played the first half of “Let Loose” solo, then was joined by the rest of the band to finish it. After that, the lights went green and they welcomed Tribal Theory onstage to play their instruments in a group performance of “Bowl For Two.”