Hawaiian reggae-rockers Pepper and Florida ska-punk band Less than Jake have nearly half a century of music making experience between them. So when the two bands announced a co-headlining tour, it was only natural that they’d go around playing to a plethora of fans at sold-out shows in prestigious venues. This go-round the bands took to the Heaven Stage at The Masquerade to take Atlanta fans down memory lane with a wild night of fun and music not soon to be forgotten.
Though hailing from Hawaii, Pepper records and resides in San Diego. The trio made up of Kaleo Wassman (vocals/guitar), Bret Bollinger (vocals/bass) and Yesod Williams (drums) make it to the stage by 9 sharp. Met with a flurry of cheers, the trio return the acknowledgement to fans with shaka signs before jumping in to perform the night’s opening track. Decked in beach attire and shades, the boys of Pepper are now in their late 30s, but move around stage like in their frenzied youth hey-day. Their take-no-prisoners approach to music fires-up the crowd at hand, resulting in a healthy amount of crowd-surfers, moshers, and enthusiastic fans that demonstrated their appreciation through loud oohs, aahs and wolf-whistles. This is definitely not the trio's first rodeo, though they maintain a humbleness about them and it shows with fan-interaction and playing each show like it’s their last. Altogether their 75-minute show is truly one act to catch.
Less than Jake follows Pepper with large shoes to fill. A staple of the ska-punk circle, the Gainesville quintet wastes no time in making a splash as they initiate their 90-minute show with a balls-to-the-wall rendition of hit single “All My Best Friends Are Metalheads”. Led by front-man Chris DeMakes and bassist Roger Lima, the boys are an enthusiastic bunch, be it through Lima’s dreads waving around and visually enhancing his performances to Buddy Schaub’s theatrics as he rushes around the stage as a part-time hype-man/part-time skilled trombonist.
With 9 studio albums under their belt, LtJ holds plenty of material to perform several consecutives concerts if they so pleased, but the 17 track showing was a perfect dose to serve Atlanta with a night of amazing tunes and a revived sense that even with 45 combined years of music experience between them, Pepper and Less than Jake never get old.