The Aggrolites feat. The Far East, DPR at Hawks & Reed
Reggae Now Tour 2020

The Aggrolites

The Far East, DPR

$16.00
All Ages
LA's hottest "Dirty Reggae" band hits Greenfield!

The Aggrolites feat. The Far East, DPR at Hawks & Reed

Friday, May 15th

Doors 8:00pm; Show 8:30pm

The Ballroom at Hawks & Reed

The Aggrolites:

The year is 2002. Vocalist Jesse Wagner and organist Roger Rivas, each fresh out of their own bands, come together to form dirty reggae quintet the Aggrolites. With a sound that is equal parts Kingston and Motown, the band turns the heads of discerning music listeners everywhere, not to mention a slew of legends both old-school (Phyllis Dillon, Derrick Morgan) and newer (Tim Armstrong) who recruit them for collaborations. Over the next decade, the Los Angeles band tours hard and records constantly, releasing five full-lengths while spending close to 250 days a year on the road. For a time, it seemed like the Aggrolites were everywhere, and that’s because they truly were. (Their van’s odometer can prove it.)

Then, unexpectedly: Silence. The Aggrolites enter a prolonged hibernation following a particularly grueling tour for 2011’s Rugged Road, and suddenly, the scene was without its leading purveyors of dirty reggae.

“I guess it just comes down to getting burned out,” frontman Wagner recalls. “We lost motivation to record. We got to that point where we had to take care of our own personal lives. Everybody just needed time for themselves.”

Of course, you can’t keep a good band down. Even though the Aggrolites were technically on hiatus, it didn’t stop them from playing a handful of gigs each year, nor did it stop members from exploring other creative endeavors. (Rivas started his own recording studio and multiple new bands; Wagner began playing with Vic Ruggiero from the Slackers; bassist Jeff Roffredo formed a band called Wild Roses with former Dropkick Murphys guitarist Marc Orrell.) And with fan support still unwavering, the band reconvened in late 2015 to lay down three songs, “Aggro Reggae Party,” “Help Man” and “Western Taipan,” which reminded them that, hey, they’re still pretty damn good at this.

“I think we were so preoccupied with our lives at that time that we were just doing things out of force to keep the band alive,” Wagner says. “But luckily and thankfully we did, because we never gave up.”

That one-off recording session was the spark that eventually created REGGAE NOW!, the Aggrolites’ sixth full-length and first for new label Pirates Press Records. Written and recorded throughout 2018, the album finds Wagner and his bandmates—Rivas, Roffredo, drummer Alex McKenzie and new guitarist Ricky Chacon—reestablishing their signature sound, re-recording those three songs from 2015 as well as adding on 11 more originals that snap, crackle and pop just as much as your favorite Aggro songs from back in the day.

“We wanted to keep it real,” Wagner says. Even though we were proud of [2009 album] IV, we know we went outside the box a little on that one. This time around, we decided to keep it natural: Simple, two-chord reggae. It’s feel-good music. We know what people like out of us. Let’s just be us.”

While it took nearly a decade to get the Aggrolites back into a cohesive creative headspace, it took a fraction of the time to actually lay down music—the band knocked out all the basic rhythm tracks for REGGAE NOW! in one day in early 2018.

“We like to keep it old school and record organically, like the Funk Brothers of Motown or The Hippy Boys of 1960’s Jamaica,“ Wagner reveals. “There’s that whole atmosphere and energy—get in a room and let that energy flow. We felt like teenagers again in a garage band. That came out in this record.”

Wagner repeatedly emphasizes the band’s drive to create “feel-good music,” and the album is a testament to those good vibrations: “Love Me Tonight” is a gorgeous love song with silky smooth vocal harmonies; the funky “Jack Pot” could be the soundtrack to your next night out at the club or the walkout music for your next prize fight; “Why You Rat” will make you groove and laugh at the same time as Wagner clowns on a “ratboy” security guard who made his life difficult at his old apartment complex.

“Our lyrics have always been light-hearted and making people smile and dance, with that vintage retro feeling in mind,” he says. “That’s what the Aggrolites are about. The great thing about skinhead reggae is as beautiful as the music sounds, it’s also the most punch-you-in-the-face music ever, too.”

“Their tunes perfectly echo the human chemistry you can hear in those early Jamaican productions,” says British reggae icon Don Letts. “The band’s old-school analog sound totally captures the spirit of the music I grew up on.”

“The Aggrolites have stretched out, and gotten it even more right, at exactly the right time,” agrees Lynval Golding, vocalist/guitarist for Two-Tone legends the Specials. “This is the album.”

Functioning as free agents for the first time in nearly two decades, the Aggrolites created REGGAE NOW! without a deadline in mind. Once they felt like the album was complete, they didn’t have to look far for a partner: Bay Area label Pirates Press Records was at the top of their list.

“I’ve known [Pirates Press Records owner] Skippy since I was 17,” says Wagner. “Over the years, seeing how much he’s progressed and knowing what kind of respect everybody has for him… He’s one of those people we trusted to know what to do with the Aggrolite name and image

With REGGAE NOW! ready to drop, the Aggrolites will hit the road this summer for their first full U.S. tour in six years. Wagner says the band is excited to get back in the groove.

“We’re passionate about reggae, we’re passionate about our band, and I don’t think we’re ever gonna stop,” he concludes. “Everybody clicks right now. That’s why we’re calling it REGGAE NOW!—because this is us now.”

The Far East

Brooklyn’s The Far East pull inspiration from foundation Jamaican rhythm; bringing new, heavy magic to a classic sound. The Far East immerse themselves completely in the often forgotten beauty of rub a dub, lovers rock, and classic dancehall.

In the fall of 2016, The Far East set out on their first national tour supporting veteran British icons The Specials; playing to sold out crowds across the US (including Riot Fest Chicago). In honor of their 2016 tour, the group released a second single entitled Can We Make It Up featuring veteran reggae guitarist Andy Bassford and produced by the talented New York production house Channel Tubes. The single was pressed and celebrated by the legendary Channel One pressing house and the late Jo Jo Hoo Kim.

The Far East set out, again, on tour with the Specials in the summer of 2017, coming home to record a new EP with Channel Tubes. The first single off the EP was released in May of 2018 with a video for the lovers anthem “Rain On My Party”. David Rogidan named this release Scorcher of the week on BBC 1Xtra and has been a long time supporter of the group.

In past performances they have supported other iconic groups such as The Wailers, Lee “Scratch” Perry, The Dap Kings, The Suffers, The Frightnrs, and The Skints. Most recently, the Far East performed with famed producer Scientist, who dubbed the band live in Brooklyn.

DPR

Danny Pease and the Regulators (DPR) has been a strong force in New England for several years. Composed of musicians with ranging backgrounds, their style of "Dirty Punk Reggae" continues to morph and take shape, while always staying true to reggae roots and ska rhythms. With their home base in Western Mass, they have steadily been scouring the Northeast and impressing newcomers with high energy and uplifting shows. Even being described as "A veritable army of energetic rockers... DPR blends ska, reggae, rock and hip-hop into a whirlwind of whoop-ass..." - The Valley Advocate

Venue Information:
Hawks & Reed Ballroom
289 Main St.
Greenfield, MA, 01301