Danny Pease and the Regulators (DPR) with Rebel Alliance

The Root Cellar  Greenfield, MA

October 21, 2016

By: Stephanie Janicedottir

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The Root Cellar has only been open a few months now, but it keeps bringing a steady stream of quality bands to their stage. I tend to get out to Greenfield at least once every other week and last weekend I had the pleasure to catch the DPR/Rebel Alliance show.  This was truly a pairing of two great Western Massachusetts bands who know their way around the reggae sound, but bend it, like the Force, to their purposes.

First to hit the stage was North Adams natives, Rebel Alliance.  Even though I’ve known about these guys for at least 3-4 years now, I’ve only been able to catch a song here or there at a festival.  I’ve never seen them live for a whole set.  And I was not disappointed.  They combine some of the best elements of the ska beat with the best qualities of a jam band.  Woody (Mike Wood #1) is such a personality as the frontman of the band, he really sets the tone with his signature VW top hat, snuggly bear stature and infectious laugh.  You know it’s going to be a throw down dance party with him on the stage.  

The rest of the band, Mike (Mike Wood #2) on drums, Al Taylor on bass, Wesley Childers on lead guitar, and Joshua Torres on backing vocals, really dial it in with Woody.  They had a few guest musicians Joshua Rosberg, on keys and saxophone and Johnny Bongos on percussion.  I’ve watched Mike on drums step into a short minute gig for another Western MA band, and seamlessly blended into the mix.  He’s definitely a quality drummer.  Al certainly has the chops and the infectious personality to provide the bass for their deep reggae sound and Wesley took a lot of beautiful leads and during one song used a slide for some ethereal guitar riffs. They played “Love Ya Love” with Phase of DPR sitting in and singing and Joshua T. providing sweet melodic backup vocals for this song and many others throughout the night.   

Another highlight was “Succubus”, obviously this poor man doesn’t know what it’s like to be with a good woman.  The words and the tone of the song reflect how down trodden and frustrated the man is.  The only other song I know by name is “My Song”, which is one I’ve enjoyed from a distance at my friend’s vending booth, Old 78 Clothing, while Rebel played main stage at Wormtown in Sept.  To be able to get up close to the band was special.   Their songs are original, danceable, and catchy.  I love it!

There was definitely a congenial vibe as people mingled both inside and outside on the deck area throughout the night.  Folks would jump inside to catch a song or three and then coming out to cool off after dancing.  I even met a woman who was at the Root Cellar for the first time and she had nothing but good things to say about her experience.

The headliners of the night were local Pioneer Valley favorites, Danny Pease and the Regulators (DPR).  I had not seen one of their shows, even though they’ve been a Valley staple for years.  I did catch the last part of the set DPR played at the Seven O’s in Sunderland 2 years ago, but at the time didn’t realize who they were.  I certainly got to know them this night.  “Dirty Punk Reggae” is the perfect moniker for this band.  They come from the same roots as Rebel Alliance, but their execution is completely different.  

DPR takes reggae into a dark deserted alley and sells it black market goods at cut throat prices.  They ramp up the energy, volume, and dirty rhythm and at times during the night I expected a mosh pit to erupt. They pulled out an old school Sublime song, “What Happened” and played it to perfection.  The last song of the night was so hardcore, when it was over, you could almost hear the crowd’s disappointment.  I know I could have gone another hour or two flailing and fighting the pull of the music, forcing me to contort my body to the rhythm and loving every minute of it.  

DPR are the gritty, grungy, Dark Side of reggae as opposed to the Jedi Mastery that Rebel Alliance brings to their music.  Both are spectacular and a great complement and contrast to a fun night of music and dancing.  I can’t wait to see either band again!

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