Rastafarians and friends harvested happiness at the Observatory OC, Santa Ana Saturday night November 24th for a soul-powered evening with Fortunate Youth, Josh Heinrichs and Skillinjah. You could feel the bass lines rising up through your stomach during Josh Heinrichs: his brass dudes blissfully blaring through the high notes and the percussion section creatively rounding it all off with a rootsy rhythmic charm. The unique and harmonious balance created the perfect 'you-had-to-be-there' atmosphere that sent good vibes all the up the rafters.
The unique and harmonious balance created the perfect 'you-had-to-be-there' atmosphere...
The Movement, meant to be on the bill, was absent due to an unexpected ailment of lead singer Joshua Swain. In their stead, Josh Heinrichs & Skillinjah opened up the evening with a distinct onstage chemistry that set the mood brilliantly. While the duo has been playing acoustic sets for most of this tour, Santa Ana had the pleasure of being graced with a full electric set, completed with a brass trio that was ready to blow minds and, let it be noted, they had a blast doing it. Heinrichs and Skillinjah kept the positivity alive with an overall message of self-love, freedom of expression and acceptance of our brothers and sisters worldwide. You could feel the excitability between performers onstage and the ladies and gents to your left, right, front and behind. The collaborative and dynamic set kicked the entire show up a notch in a way that only a band with a serious presence can do. For these lads, reality is simple: love is the only answer and, as long as the ganja is shared, we will all be alright.
Fortunate Youth took the stage with the same enthusiasm and irreverence that makes us love them time and time again. Playing many special treats from their latest self-titled album, the tone was so soulful and, dare one say, 'bluesy' that it felt like the band was sending us a big hug to the eardrums. More deep bass lines and psychedelic guitar solos caught us in the moment and kept us vibing the night away in a kind of time warp. Crowds swaying along together to the upbeat movements brought by the music made the evening euphoric in the most beautifully simplistic way. Worries were washed away and sent down the drains while melodies rose up the ceilings as we all sang along, “No matter where you come from, we are alright here with you.” An unexpected twist was the amount of artists that hopped onstage to collab on the spot with the Fortunate boys, like Marlon "Ganja Farmer" Asher, Josh Heinrichs, Dread Kennedy and, of course, the We Should Smoke Movement.
A Saturday night show so perfectly funky and in-sync is only achieved when we are all in it together and living in the moment. A big 'hats off' to everyone – musician, production and fan – for making the night shake, rattle and roll from start to stop.
Photography by Sean McCracken