MUSIC BOX: Katchafire ignites Garter

By on September 17, 2014

 

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Jackson Hole, Wyoming — Bob Marley’s tune “Catch a Fire” is often interpreted as means to light up a spliff, but New Zealand’s pop-reggae septet knows that beneath the surface, “fire” refers to the fires of hell, as in telling slave drivers to catch a fire or go to hell. The band of Kiwis will return three and a half years after headlining Jackson Hole Mountain Fest in Teton Village.

It is said that after Bob Marley’s powerful one-time show in New Zealand in 1978, the direction of the Kiwi music scene forever changed. His timeless messages resonated most with the indigenous people of Aotearoa, the displaced Maori. Ever since, buoyant reggae has been a staple export of Kiwi culture, best defined by the surf town of Hamilton and its offspring, Katchafire.

“The early days, man, we worked like madmen,” frontman Logan Bell said in an interview with TheMusic.com.au. “I think we laid down a template for a lot of the bands in New Zealand, and the mold to follow, I guess. Every week we had a gig somewhere, at least one, and for those first five years of the 2000s, we were just running around New Zealand just lapping it up, mate.”

The all-Maori group is now seven members strong featuring double guitars, percussion, keys, trumpet, bass, drums, and tight three-part vocal harmonies. There’s even two generations of the Bell family represented. Brothers Logan (guitar, vocals) and Jordan (drums) joined their father and band founder Grenville to release Katchafire’s debut album, Revival, in 2003. That album produced the biggest selling single of the year, eventually leading to the band’s rigorous international tour schedule through the U.K., Europe, U.S., Japan, Guam and Australia. The group’s latest release is The Best So Far [2013], a compilation follow-up to 2010’s dance-pop set, On the Road Again.

“Katchafire’s been together for 10 years-plus now, and we’ve got four studio albums and a lot of remix albums and limited editions, but a lot of places in the world haven’t seen Katchafire …so we thought we’d put together a ‘best of’ so far,” Bell explained of the ulterior motives behind releasing The Best So Far. “We still pinch ourselves every day to be able to do what we love in life as a job … success and making money is just a bonus.”

Opening the show is Wailuku, Hawaii’s Jordan T., a reggae-rock artist that adventures like a gypsy for his song inspirations. Jordan is lead guitarist for the band Maoli, which were nominees in the Hawaiian Music Awards and the Na Hoku Hanohano Music Awards.

Katchafire with Jordan T., 9 p.m. on Saturday at Pink Garter Theatre. $20-$23. PinkGarterTheatre.com or 733-1500.

 

Sheridan Coyotes invade

 

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Purveyors of Santana-esque boogie music spread across rock ‘n’ roll, blues and surf, Sheridan-based Gary Small and The Coyote Brothers will return to the Wort for a two-night run. Small is a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, whose reservation resides in remote Southeast Montana to the east of the Little Bighorn Battlefield. Small has been nominated for and won a handful of Native American Music Awards (Nammy) over the years, including Best World Music for his 2013 album, Hostiles and Renegades. The Coyote Brothers recently won the Wyoming International Blues Challenge for 2014.

Gary Small & The Coyote Brothers, 7:30 to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at the Silver Dollar Bar. Free. 733-2190.

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About Aaron Davis

Aaron Davis is a decade-long writer of Music Box, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.

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