Hawaiian Punch Tour brings snow and reggae by Iration, Pepper, New Kingston in Cargo

Tim Parsons
Micah Pueschel and Iration headlined Cargo’s tripleheader of reggae on a snowy, Feb. 17, in Reno.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Tim Parsons

There’s something about Iration that inspires the Sierra Nevada heavens to break open and pour forth.

Perhaps it’s a Time Bomb that the band unleashes on the way up the hill. Perhaps it’s a reggae-inspired blessing designed to bust the drought. Whatever it is, Iration is right in the middle of it.

In June, the band headlined the annual Tahoe Reggae Festival, which was interrupted by an ominous thunderstorm that brought lightening cracking within a mile of the outdoor concert at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The storm chased rain-soaked fans indoors for more than an hour before reggae pioneer Don Carlos, roots-rapper Matisyahu and Iration closed the show beneath clouds of ganja and a fine mountain mist.

On Wednesday night, a blizzard struck Northern Nevada while Iration delivered a Hawaiian Punch to an enthusiastic, sold-out crowd at the Cargo in Reno. By the time it ended, the summit passes between Reno and Tahoe were pretty much impassable — unless you happened to be piloting a snow plow.

“Let’s rage,” said Micah Pueschel, Iration’s lead singer. “We have the day off tomorrow.”

It was plenty toasty inside the Whitney Peak Hotel venue downtown as Iration sang of moon-lit summer nights. An artist painted a parrot’s portrait, and fans jockeyed for position, vying for a spot near the stage.

Opening bands New Kingston from Brooklyn, New York, and fellow Hawaiian natives Pepper fired up 1,000 rasta lovers before Iration took the reins.

New Kingston, featuring brothers Tahir (keyboards), Stephen (guitar), and drummer Courtney Jr. Panton — and their dad Faddah P on bass — provided a high-energy opening set capped with the thoughts “We are who we are… I’m a rebel.”

Pepper salted the crowd with several songs from its new album, “Start You Up,” and dreamed about “going on vacation.” (The vacation probably started with chain installation for the tour vans and trailer before the Hawaiian Punch Tour could take aim on Seattle.)

Prior to the Reno stop, Pueschel credited Pepper for helping to teach its brothers from Iration how to take a reggae show on the road.

“They were the first band from the Big Island to make it on the mainland and become a national touring act. They took us on own first big tour in 2008. They laid the groundwork for us and were kind of our role models and big brothers…” Pueschel told Tahoe Onstage.

The Pepper players, Kaleo Wassman on guitar, Bret Bollinger on bass and Yesod Williams on drums, clearly were having good times interacting with the Cargo crowd, which responded in kind before the bands’ roles reversed and Iration closed the show.

Pueschel and bandmates Joe Dickens (drums), Adam Taylor (bass), Cayson Peterson (keyboards), Micah Brown (guitar) and King (dub controls), provided their positive vibrations and — on cue — plenty of precipitation fluttered down outside.

  • Hawaiian Punch Tour
    Iration, Pepper, New Kingston
    Feb. 19 – Seattle (Sold out)
    Feb. 20 – Portland (Sold out)
    Feb. 21 – Eugene
    Feb. 24 – Spokane
    Feb. 25 – Boise
    Feb. 26 – Boise
    Feb. 27 – Billings
    Feb. 28 – Bozeman
    March 2 – Laramie
    March 3 – Aspen
    March 4 – Denver
  • Hotting Up Tour
    Iration, HIRIE and The Expanders
    (Amp Live is on the tour March 30-April 8)
    March 30 – Grand Theatre, Lawrence, Kansas
    March 31 – Majestic Theatre, Madison, Wisconsin
    April 1 – House of Blues, Chicago
    April 2 – Varsity Theatre, Minneapolis
    April 5 – The Intersection, Grand Rapids, Michigan
    April 6 – Newport Music Hall, Columbus
    April 7 – Rochester, New York
    April 8 – Webster Hall, New York
    April 9 – Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel, Providence, Rhode Island
    April 12 – The National, Richmond, Virginia
    April 13 – Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, North Carolina
    April 14 – Greenfield Amphitheater, Wilmington, North Carolina
    April 15 – Greenfield Amphitheater, Wilmington, North Carolina
    April 16 – Variety Playhouse, Atlanta
    April 19 – Music Farm, Charleston South Carolina
    April 20 – The Orange Reel, Asheville, North Carolina
    April 21 – Maverick’s, Jacksonville, Florida
    April 22 – House of Blues, Orlando, Florida
    April 23 – Vinyl Music Hall, Pensacola, Florida

 Related stories:

Iration's Joe Dickens, left, Micah Pueschel and Adam Taylor flint through shadows and lights at Cargo. Tim Parsons/ Tahoe Onstage
Iration’s Joe Dickens, left, Micah Pueschel and Adam Taylor flint through shadows and lights at Cargo.
Tim Parsons/ Tahoe Onstage
A reggae fan stayed in the front row for all three bands.
A reggae fan stayed in the front row for all three bands.

Iration 1

Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
Pepper’s Yesod Williams flashes a cameraman a pose.
Tim Parsons
Pepper’s Kaleo Wassman, left, and Bret Bollinger jam.

Pepper 8Pepper 7 Pepper Pepper 3 Pepper 6Pepper 1

New Kingston brings the family flavor from Brooklyn. Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
New Kingston brings the family flavor from Brooklyn.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

New Kingston 5 New Kingston 1 New Kingston 2 New Kingston 4

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Tahoe Onstage is an online entertainment and sports magazine covering Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Reno, the Carson Valley and June Lake.

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