The popular reggae group Rebelution will return to Urbana’s Canopy Club this Saturday for what will be the last show of their Give Thanks Fall Tour. As its name suggests, the tour is focused on inspiring thanksgiving and gratitude. The band’s reggae and roots sounds create a relaxed, joyful atmosphere at their live shows that so perfectly complements the band’s message and intention. This is the second year that the band has dubbed their fall tour the Give Thanks Tour. After last year’s fall tour around the states, it only seemed appropriate that they make the celebration an annual one. Rebelution’s visit to Urbana could be the perfect reminder for the C-U community to give thanks for those simple blessings that sustain us year-round.
Lead singer and guitarist Eric Rachmany maintains that the idea of the tour is as simple and moving as being thankful for life. “It doesn’t matter where you come from, or anybody’s differences,” he said. “It’s just the fact that we’re alive and enjoying music together. It’s a pretty special thing, so we thought it was pretty fitting.”
Rebelution’s music is just dripping with this kind of uncomplicated positivity. Their lyrics impart messages about persevering through pain and hardship, ruminating on notions of peacefulness and the beauty of life, and expelling hate and violence from our lives. Their fun and soothing sound might draw you in at first, but their words will really leave the most lasting message.
It has been a busy year for the band. They released their third full-length studio album, Peace of Mind, just a few days after the New Year began. Shortly after the release, the band went on a national tour to share Peace of Mind. This past summer saw them traveling around the country to play at numerous music festivals like Outside Lands in San Francisco, California, The Forecastle Festival in Louisville, Kentucky, and the first year of Summerset Music Festival in Somerset, Wisconsin. Finally, Urbana will be the band’s spot to hit on the 14-city Give Thanks tour.
The band’s busy schedule is understandable considering the incredible growth with which Peace of Mind has provided it. Upon its release, the record broke the Billboard 200 chart, settling in at number 13 on the list of top albums. The band was surprised to learn of the album’s almost instant mainstream success. Seated on the charts among pop records literally oozing with funding and outside production, Peace of Mind demonstrates the potential success of an independent and unconventional group. But the achievement meant more to the band than a moment of fame.
“The main reason why we were happy about it was because we think we have a really good message that I think people deserve to hear,” Rachmany said. “There’s a lot of negative music out there. I think people want to cheer for something that they can identify with … and they want to identify with a positive message. We’re stoked about that, and that’s really a main reason why we tour.” He added with a happy laugh, “Getting on stage and seeing people smiling and having a great time, you know, that never gets old.”
Peace of Mind has received a significant amount of grassroots attention and praise in addition to its more mainstream acceptance. Rachmany noted that a lot of crowds are already singing the lyrics to Rebelution’s new material at live shows. Usually, it takes some time for a newer album to sink in among fans, but Peace of Mind has clearly made a quick and notable impact on fans.
Despite their love for PoM, Rebelution had already moved on to creating new material when the album dropped in January. Drawing inspiration from their busy year on the road, the band’s members continue working to create new music that spreads their positive messages of peace, hope, and endless gratitude.
Two equally fun and soulful acts will precede Rebelution on Saturday night: Passafire of Savannah, Georgia, blend reggae with contemporary rock, while Through The Roots of San Diego, California, throw a bit of electronic bite into the mix. Having played shows together before, these bands share a synergy as musicians and touring mates. Members of Passafire and Through The Roots even hop onstage during live shows to play with Rebelution from time to time.
It’s true: reggae music doesn’t always click with every concertgoer. Still, I think everyone can find some way to connect with Rebelution’s energy, be it through the groovy foundations of their songs, the poignant ideas behind their lyrics, or the relaxed atmosphere they can create in an intimate venue like the Canopy Club.
Canopy’s doors will open at 8 p.m. on Saturday night, and the first opener will begin playing at 8:30 p.m. As always, this is an 18+ show. Tickets are $17 in advance, and $20 at the door.