Come August 25, reggae-rock band Iration will fulfill a career goal it has had since it first formed in Isla Vista in 2004, headlining a concert the Santa Barbara Bowl. In an interview with the News-Press, lead vocalist and guitarist Micah Pueschel said the band is greatly looking forward to the penultimate gig of its “Live From Paradise!” tour, which will also be the band’s first hometown gig in two years. When he and his bandmates take the stage of the bowl in a few weeks, Mr. Pueschel said it will be “the culmination of a lot of years’ work.”
Though its members originally hail from The Big Island of Hawaii, Iration formed when Mr. Pueschel moved to Isla Vista after graduating college to join his high school friends and future bandmates Cayson Peterson, Joseph Dickens, and Adam Taylor. During its earliest days, Iration was a covers band that played strictly roots-reggae and performed at downtown venues like Sandbar, Wildcat, and Velvet Jones. As the band began composing original material, it began to “branch out into new sounds.”
Currently, Iration is working on a new album that the singer said would be “funkier” and “jazzier” than its past output, incorporating recent influences on the band such as 70s rock group Steely Dan and English guitarist Tom Misch. Mr. Pueschel’s long-standing musical influences include Bob Marley and the Wailers, The Beatles, Weezer, and Beck.
With the “Live From Paradise!” tour, the band has been promoting “Chill Out,” a single from the sessions of their next album. When it comes to songwriting, Mr. Pueschel said Iration aims to craft songs that “sound good, feel good, but also have a deeper meaning.” The meaning of “Chill Out” is a reference to the toxic internet culture of today, which encourages “being an internet tough guy” by “gaslighting” people and calling them out for their indiscretions. He hopes the new tune encourages those who hear it to go back to the older, more authentic way of communicating.
“It’s a plea to get back to a more natural, face-to-face communication and being more real,” he said.
Though it’s a new song, Mr. Pueschel said “Chill Out” has received an enthusiastic reception from live audiences, partially due to its unique instrumentation. In line with their new songs’ more jazzy direction, “Chill Out” utilizes muted horns.
“It definitely has a different feel, and when the horns come in it’s a big lift for the crowd,” he said.
Though the group and its members have lived in Santa Barbara for the past fifteen years, Mr. Pueschel said the band doesn’t perform in town as much as one might expect. Still, with each tour Iration does its best to make Santa Barbara proud.
“We call Santa Barbara home and we want to make Santa Barbara proud of the product that we put out on the road,” he said.
Iration’s headlining concert will feature support acts Pepper, Fortunate Youth, and Katastro. The show will begin at 5:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at sbbowl.com.