Pepper w/ The Expendables and Ballyhoo! 10/06/11

Showbox SoD0 – Seattle, WA

Words/Photos by Jakobross424

After an extremely hectic concert week filled with late nights and let downs, I was proud to say that this is one reggae concert I would NOT be getting kicked out of. As Flavor Flav once famously said:

“[All ages show] boooyyyy!”

Well, kind of. Anyway, Hawaiian reggae power trio Pepper was going on tour for no reason except to have fun. After a short stint at this year’s underwhelming Warped Tour, the group decided to play a 105 minute set on their own tour instead of a rushed 30 minute set on a tour that has lost most meaning, unless Reel Big Fish are a part of it.

Touring with Pepper would be Santa Cruz punk/reggae-with-metal-influences outfit The Expendables. And yes, they came into existence BEFORE that movie with Jason Statham and Rocky and the Terminator and all those other old dudes. So don’t try to YouTube any songs by The Expendables, all you will get is this fine example of Hollywood trailer magic:

Anyway, supporting the two bands would be Baltimore-based reggae/rock band Ballyhoo!, who just so happen to be friends with my homeboys Echo Movement. The doors opened at 7:00, and Ballyhoo! went on at 8:00. Their lead signer looked like Neil Patrick Harris. Just saying. The band powered through a 30-minute set and put on a pretty decent show. The band had charisma and stage presence and probably gained a few new fans that night.

I headed over to the merch booth to buy an Expendables CD, “Open Container,” so I could get it signed, and I got an awesome Expendables T-shirt, in which the band’s name is the melted cheese on a grilled cheese sandwich. Then, 15 minutes later, The Expendables went on stage and played songs that I wasn’t really expecting. I was going by the setlist they played at this year’s Warped Tour, and they played some completely different stuff. I remember them playing songs like “Donkey Show”, “One Drop”, “My Way Out”, “Sacrifice”, and they ended their set with their classic “Bowl For Two.”

After getting my CD signed by the band, I waited in a tool-free zone of the Showbox SoDo for Pepper to come on. After several false starts and sound checks, the band came on about 10 minutes after 10:00, their scheduled start time. Then, they came on stage. Bret Bollinger (vocals, bass), Kaleo Wassman (vocals, guitar), and Yesod Williams (drums) immediately broke into “Love Affair”, from their second album In With The Old, and then they played the longest reggae show I have ever seen, clocking in at approximately 1 hour 45 minutes.

I think they played at least 20 songs, but I wasn’t counting. They played old favorites, new songs, and even threw in a cover: a sped up version of the Police’s “Can’t Stand Losing You.” They got the crowd jumping and induced mosh pits a’plenty. I can’t possibly name all of the songs they played, but I knew they played these songs, in no particular order:

Stormtrooper, Ho’s, Sitting on the Curb, Love Affair, Use Me, Wanna Know You, No Control, Your Face, Crazy Love, Like Your Style, Point and Shoot, Freeze, Wake Up, and Blackout, the last of which ended their set and was played with the lead singer of Ballyhoo!.

Pepper are a must-see band. They are hilarious, and they know when they are playing in a great city like Seattle.

Bret: Seattle is one of the greatest cities for music ever! 90s grunge is my favorite music!

Kaleo: (plays Stone Temple Pilots’ “Big Empty” on guitar)

Bret: You just gave me a Stone Temple boner.

The group are unpredictable, potty-mouthed, funny, and a great band to see live. The Expendables and Ballyhoo! were both great openers, but Pepper was the one to see. And what are the odds of meeting another Jewish teenager who was a big fan of Echo Movement? Pretty high at a Pepper concert, apparently.

True story.

My name is Jakob and I listen to a lot of music. I also attend lots of concerts. That is all.
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