California Roots (Or “Cali Roots” as it’s commonly known) has long since been a staple in celebrating California’s proud history of reggae music. Since it’s inception in 2010, countless reggae superstars from Pepper to Ziggy Marley have called this stage in Monterey, California home. With the enormous list of bands set to perform this year, figuring out which bands to prioritize can be a little overwhelming, so we at BAM have compiled a list of the top five bands that we are excited to see this year at Cali Roots, and to keep it interesting, we’re not including the headliners. We hope this will get you as excited for this year’s lineup as we are.
5: Tribal Theory
This band from San Diego has been making California proud for quite some time. Finding their niche in the Urban Reggae and Ska scenes, they have come out with quite a few songs that should be on everybody’s “Lazy Sunday” playlist. Be sure to check out their song Burnin’ and their new 2017 single Part Time Lovers, and get ready to let Tribal Theory start your day off right.
It’s nearly impossible to go any significant period of time without being hearing Matisyahu’s uplifting and inspiring single One Day. Reggae has always been known for it’s strong connection to faith and spirituality, but Matisyahu truly embodies this sentiment. As a proud Orthodox Jew, he constantly finds avenues to blend his music with his faith, resulting in culturally relevant melodies, and deep and personal lyrics as he finds ways to work in Hebrew and Yiddish lyrics as well. Matisyahu is as genuine of an artist as they come, and I’m sure more than a handful of us are looking forward to crossing this act off their bucket list.
3: Common Kings
Common Kings are extraordinary feel-good band that will lift your spirits on the worst of days. Their Island Reggae melodies coupled with their upbeat and solid tenor vocals will leave you wanting more every time. Their soulful demeanor keeps their music interesting well past the first listen, and reminds us that it’s the little things in life that matter. If this is the first time you have heard of Common Kings, check out their single Before You Go and see for yourself where this music leaves you.
The Cali Roots veterans are back! Performing in their 5th year at this festival, Iration knows the drill and will be sure to put on a show to remember. From touring college towns to touring the country, this Santa Barbara band has proven to be one of the greatest bands to ever experiment with Sunshine Reggae. Since their breakout album Time Bomb in 2010, they have continued to impress us with singles such as Time Bomb, Falling, and Reelin’. Iration’s set is something I am sure we are all looking forward to experiencing.
Alright, you caught us. In good conscience, I can’t finish this list without at least acknowledging Rebeloution, Nas, and The Dirty Heads. California Roots really has some great performers this year, and these three acts really showcase that. This year’s lineup is quite possibly the most solid one they’ve ever had, and narrowing down the list of who I’m looking forward to seeing to just five took some real head scratching. Cali Roots isn’t just about the music, it’s about the culture that reggae represents. It’s about the way this music makes everyone feel, and the type of person it makes you want to become. It really is a lifestyle, not a weekend. Now, I know we’re all counting down the days until Cali Roots 2017 starts up, and even with all of this talent, there is one band that is just a cut above the rest, and that we at BAM are looking forward to seeing most of all…
That’s right, folks, Ballyhoo! is coming to Cali Roots. If there was ever a band that better sets the mood for a day at the beach better than Ballyhoo!, then I haven’t heard them. In their more than two decades of experience, Ballyhoo! has had their share of chart topping songs. The minds behind such hits as Walk Away, Evil Penguin, Sandcastles, and of course their new single Mixtape, have no shortage of original and creative developments, and even released an Acoustic Album back in 2014 to much critical success. Ballyhoo! is a band that turns rock fans into reggae lovers. There is simply nothing negative you can say about their music, or the attitude it represents. Musically, it is the embodiment of fun nights and good times. Ballyhoo! performs on Sunday, the last day of Cali Roots, and is looking to be a great end to what we know will be an unforgettable weekend.
Did we miss anything? Is there an artist you think should have made our list? Did one make it that you don’t think should have? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll be sure to give them some extra love when we’re at Cali Roots. California Roots happens the last weekend of May (The 26th to the 28th) at the Monterey County Fairgrounds. Somehow, tickets are still Available Here, be sure to get yours before they’re all gone.