Material: Headlining Boomshaka 2018, (a full night of reggae fare) Tribal Seeds delivered what the audience came for: an uplifting and emotive event. Formed by brothers Steven Jacobo and Tony-Ray Jacobo (producer), they have toured extensively spreading their message of spirituality and good will. Grappling with familiar themes often expressed in reggae music––rebellion, railing against the system, the loss of personal freedoms and, of course, ganja (considered to be a gift from “Jah” the Rastafarian God) aptly described in “Garden”: Sensimilla is a gift from God/...so burn/put your lungs to work/for the ganja smoking/for the ganja. While the cornerstone of the band’s music is one of peace and healing, many of the songs tend to sound musically similar. More standout choruses and diverse rhythmic structures will move this act out of their comfort zone.
Musicianship: Tribal Seeds’ sound is authentic, and frontman Jacobo’s inflection and delivery are genuine. His voice is expressive while his vocal timbre is notably reminiscent of Bob Marley’s. The band is tight and they generate a number of interesting sounds and effects from the keyboards as well as guitar riffs that add spice to the arrangements.
Performance: These seasoned pros excelled in this large venue, pulling in a huge and enthusiastic crowd. However, with the benefit of great lighting and an excellent sound system they could have done more with staging, making it more fluid. Changing the players’ configuration would have added more interest to a lengthy set, altering the visual landscape.
The band moved from song to song without much pause or commentary, which if you were not already a fan, could have helped bridge the gap between audience and performer.
Summary: Reggae music inherently promotes feelings of well-being and positivity, even when the underlying messages are not. From that standpoint, Tribal Seeds succeeds. Greater differentiation in the songwriting, along with revealing a bit more of themselves, will further propel an already polished and popular band. Tribal Seeds is currently recording their fifth album due to be released early this years.
The Players: Steven Rene Jacobo, lyrics, vocals, guitar; Victor Navarro, bass; Ryan Gonzo, guitar; Luis Castillo, keyboards, vocals; Danny Lopilato, keyboards, vocals; Jamey “Zeb” Dekofsky, drums.