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Saturday, November 17 , 2018, 6:56 pm | Fog/Mist 59º

 
 
 
 

Homegrown Band Iration Rocks as Headliner for KjEE Summer Round Up

Lead guitarist Micah Brown, left, and lead singer Micah Pueschel of Santa Barbara band Iration light up the stage as headliners for the 12th annual KjEE Summer Round Up on Friday night at the Santa Barbara Bowl.
Lead guitarist Micah Brown, left, and lead singer Micah Pueschel of Santa Barbara band Iration light up the stage as headliners for the 12th annual KjEE Summer Round Up on Friday night at the Santa Barbara Bowl. (Steve Kennedy / Noozhawk photo)

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With homegrown roots from the garages and house parties of Isla Vista, Iration returned to the Santa Barbara Bowl on Friday to headline the 12th annual KjEE Summer Round Up.

The annual event showcased an eclectic range of musical artists. Besides Iration, this year's show tapped FMLYBND, The Strumbellas, Wolfmother and Fitz and The Tantrums. The show kicked off with Santa Barbara locals FMLYBND followed by The Strumbellas of Toronto, Canada.

As the Friday evening crowd started to file in, the hard-rock band Wolfmother hit the stage. They capture a heavy psychedelic 1970s edge and give no quarter to their driving brand of neo crush rock music.

The power trio’s set caught the attention of the fans, who soon were rousing along with the intense swagger delivered by the Australian rockers. Unrelenting guitar riffs, pounding drum beats and a bass/keyboard player in one, these long hair and denim guys kept the crowd's heads banging and sweating it up in the late afternoon sun.

While the golden hour was setting in, Los Angeles-based Fitz and The Tantrums had their shot at the fabled stage in Santa Barbara. They instantly seized the energy generated by the previous acts and ran with it. Their music is soulful, groovin’ 1980s new wave pop. They have an upbeat vibe and clicky vocal harmonies. They elevated the energy in the house and put the Summer Round Up in full swing.

Noell Scaggs, a lead singer for Los Angeles-based band Fitz and The Tantrums.
Noell Scaggs, a lead singer for Los Angeles-based band Fitz and The Tantrums. (Steve Kennedy / Noozhawk photo)

Interestingly, Fitz and The Tantrums do not feature a guitar player. Yes, no rhythm guitar, no driving leads. Instead, they utilize drums, bass, keyboards and a sax player to generate their impressive tones. The band's beat set the stage for the undeniable chemistry of the two lead singers, Michael Fitzpatrick, aka “Fitz,” and Noell Scaggs. The two create an infectious dynamic that is hard to deny. The duo's refreshing energy and uncanny ability to play off each other provides a captivating change to the bands with one solo lead singer.

They ended their set with the addition of a very young fan who adorably and innocently engaged the band with fun dancing. The crowd was certainly locked in and demanding more. Seemingly, everyone in the house was in the groove.

As day turned into night, Santa Barbara locals Iration emerged from the darkness to kick off their headlining set. Opening the set with "Dub" and "Reelin," the reggae vibration was dropped in full force. Lead singer Micah Pueschel, playing his signature gold top Les Paul, used his sweet, soulful vocal pitch to get the locals in the mood. The middle of the set featured songs "Lost and Found" and "Automatic."

The band members, who were friends from Hawaii and reunited while attending school at UCSB, were rolling up a great set. Topping off their night in the spotlight, they nailed a Tom Petty cover, “Mary Janes Last Dance,” a powerful solo delivered by lead guitarist Micah Brown.

The band began to wrap up the night with "Hotting Up" from their latest album. The song raises awareness about the impending plight of global warming. They closed out the night with "Time Bomb," and a deep-root rockin’ night of reggae was complete.

KjEE’s 12th annual Summer Round Up delivered an excellent day of eclectic music, sun and fun.

Steve Kennedy is a Noozhawk contributor. The opinions expressed are his own.

Hard-rock band Wolfmother, with their heavy psychedelic 1970s edge, hits the stage Friday for the KjEE Summer Round Up at the Santa Barbara Bowl. Click to view larger
Hard-rock band Wolfmother, with their heavy psychedelic 1970s edge, hits the stage Friday for the KjEE Summer Round Up at the Santa Barbara Bowl. (Steve Kennedy / Noozhawk photo)

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