Grammy Nominated Reggae powerhouse SOJA brought a little bit of Jamaica reggae to Saint Andrews Hall in Detroit.

As Mother Nature gave a cold wintery howl outside, SOJA was bringing the warmth of the Carribean inside Saint Andrews Hall in Detroit, Michigan on March 10, 2018. Based out of Arlington, VA, the band is no stranger to these bitterly cold conditions, but the crowd was quickly filled with visions of sandy beaches, tropical sun and cold beer as they grooved to the reggae beats.

Opening with “Fire in the Sky” off 2017’s Poetry in Motion, it was quite clear that lead vocalist Jacob Hemphill was a little under the weather. However, not even a slight cold could hold back Jacob and the boys as they delivered a righteous 21-song, almost 2-hour long set. The vibes continued with jams like “Mentality,” “Be Aware,” and “To Whom.”

SOJA may be considered a reggae band, but their unique message combines elements of faith, politics, and love. Hemphill explained the reason reggae was so important to them was the message it had to offer. “It’s different from other types of music; it’s world-changing, life-changing, people-changing,” Hemphill said. “We want it to be something more than just music, to have an effect on the world.”

Having played together for over 20 years, the band is extremely tight and it is clear that their gigs are just as much fun for them as their fans. Bobby Lee is a powerhouse on bass as he struts and moves and even takes over the vocal reigns on a few numbers. Not to be outdone, Trevor Young went from soft vocals and acoustic guitar to thrashing the axe with solos that would leave many metal bands standing in awe.

Hellman Escoria and Rafael Rodriguez were stellar on the brass with each taking numerous solo opportunities throughout the night to showcase their talents as the beats were laid down by drummer Ryan Berty and percussionist Ken Brownell. IRIE MON !!!

Polishing off the night was a three-song encore of “Tear It Down,” “I Don’t Wanna Wait,” and “I Believe” featuring some Trevor Young vocals.

Opening the night was Brooklyn, NY based New Kingston combining their rich Jamaican heritage with a New York urban sound to produce a very unique reggae sound. Courtney Panton provided the beats and a majority of the vocals as they tour in support of their latest release A Kingston Story: Come from Far.

The Poetry in Motion Tour continues throughout the month of March with stops along the East coast before they launch into the summer festival season starting off with the Reggae Rise Up Festival in St. Petersburg, Florida. If you love Caribbean beats or just enjoy kicking back to some tunes, be sure to catch this gig when it visits a city near you…Ya Mon !!!


Event Date: 10-MAR-2018