The Green ready for homecoming gig
Part of the growing process for any band serious about building a fan base is going on tour. For local acts, however, the ability to get on a plane and play shows in front of crowds anywhere else but Hawaii can be an incredibly difficult goal to recognize.
When rising reggae stars the Green get on stage at SoHo Mixed Media Bar tonight, it will be the first opportunity for their hometown fans to see how far the band has come as a live act. The gig will be the first they play on Oahu since returning from 10 weeks on the road.
"It's been a trip," acknowledged singer/guitarist JP Kennedy earlier this week. "It started with Philly and there was a mix of support shows and headline gigs."
The Green opened for Rebelution during a 12-day stint on the east coast before heading out west to headline sold-out concerts in Portland and Seattle. Then it was back to the east coast to play with the Easy Star All-Stars in bigger cities like Boston and Washington, D.C. The 10-week tour wrapped up last week with shows in Nevada, Arizona and Colorado alongside J-Boog and Soldiers of Jah Army.
"This was the longest one," said Kennedy. "We went out for the first time in March 2010 when the album came out, and after we came home a lot of things started happening.
"So we went out again in summer 2010 to just the west coast. And then we picked up an agent and went on tour all over with Iration. So much is happening out there. We had this tour set up as only four or five weeks, but it ended up becoming 10."
Kennedy credits new management as the main source of motivation for the Green to elevate themselves to the next level of the music business. Not content with just dominating Hawaii's radio airwaves, the band is focused on building their name in other markets around the world. That tried-and-true method of building a following is one of only a few constants left in an industry rocked by change in recent years.
"It's a proven formula," Kennedy said, pointing to Big Island-based Pepper as a band that's adopted an always-on-the-road mentality that keeps them far from Hawaii's shores for most of the year. "We have the potential to be there at that level, (but) a lot of things need to go down. This next album is crucial. It has to be better."
At this point, Kennedy said "four or five" songs are already completed and ready for mixing, but the Green's next record still has a few more months before it will be ready for fans to hear.
"We're shooting for October, but we'll wait if we need to," he said. "We want to give ourselves the best chance."
Tonight's homecoming concert also marks the first time the Green is stepping up as promoters. Instead of getting booked for the gig and only having to worry about showing up to perform, the guys are shouldering more responsibility in an effort to challenge themselves.
"We wanted to do something that was different, and do it somewhere people weren't used to seeing us," said Kennedy. "We wanted to promote our own show to see where we stand as far as just our music goes.
"Even if they don't like (the venue), people will be there to see us. I know when I go downtown, when it's a good night it's a good night."
'The Green Homecoming Concert'
» Where: SoHo Mixed Media Bar
» When: 10 p.m. today (May 13)
» Cost: $15 (21+) and $20 (18-20)
» Info: www.thegreen808.com