By STEVEN YARDLEY
Kiwi is a fruit. Even sweeter is the band Kiwi that elevated the Java Barn Saturday night to a melodious reggae roots concert combining a jazzy punctual horn section and a thumping dub rhythm section. That bass was low and ricocheting in my ribcage. I thought Alex Tea, Kiwi’s lead singer, was hiding things in his 20 year old dreadlock, he could tuck his dreads into his denim back pockets.
Alex Tea is their main songwriter and a truly brilliant one. Their album On The Move is my favorite reggae album of all time. When most people think of reggae, they think of easy grooves that often get repetitive and bleak in their lack of creativity. On The Move is the opposite; it has some of the catchiest horn lines, uplifting soulful message, and genius rhythmic changes I have ever heard. I keep their CD in my beat-up Camry at all times. Kiwi was heading to Syracuse to start recording a new album, and Java was their pit stop. We were lucky to see artists who are changing the definitions of reggae music, as we speak, and be the last to hear them before their new album is recorded.
Kiwi is well respected in Jersey City, their home base. They have been touring mostly in the Northern New England states, but have also spent lots of time touring Brazil. Here, Alex Tea has taken lots of musical inspiration as well as dance. Not all Java musicians are fulltime rock stars; they need day jobs to support themselves in this increasingly digital age of free downloadable music, and accessibility to tunes. Alex Tea’s job is teaching capoeira, a Brazilian dance similar to break dancing that involves entrapment, and martial arts. Search it on YouTube, and be amazed; java needs more break-dancers.
On Saturday, everybody got down. The atmosphere Kiwi created was upbeat and happy, two things we look for all throughout life. People swayed on top of the polka-dot piano, danced with pumpkins, and jived with joy. Next Java, lets get weird and spooky for our Halloween show. The house will be wearing costumes, and so should you!