Iration’s rainbow shines through winter’s whiteout

Iration lights up the Cargo Concert Hall on a colorful Tuesday night in Reno. Tahoe Onstage photos by Tim Parsons

Iration lights up the Cargo Concert Hall on a colorful Tuesday night in Reno.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Tim Parsons

Iration has irony in its irie.

Fans of the sunshine reggae band have been inundated during its last visits to Reno-Tahoe with great vibes, high times and sky-splitting weather.

The audience was evacuated during a lightning storm at the 2015 Lake Tahoe Reggae Festival and a blizzard forced highway closures last winter when Iration performed in Reno. The reggae band returned Tuesday, Jan. 24, for an appearance at the Cargo Concert Hall.

“Hopefully, it’s strange in the best way and not in the blizzard-dangerous way,” Iration’s singer Micah Pueschel said before the band set out on its Lost & Found Winter Tour.

Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Rainbow road warrior Michael Pueschel shines on tour.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Ice and snow lined Virginia Street in downtown Reno, and Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada had its deepest snowpack in more than a decade. A near capacity crowd warmed up to the irie sounds of Iration and openers Protoje and one-man band Zach Deputy.

“It’s three pretty unique sounds,” Pueschel said. “Protoje has a modern Jamaican roots style and Zach Deputy plays that Cajun-Afrobeat, and then we have our sound which is a lot more modern and Island and pop driven.”

Iration’s sound has changed since it last blew into town. Trumpet player and percussionist Drake Peterson has joined the Southern California-based band that includes Pueschel, Cayson Peterson, Micah Brown, Adam Taylor and Joseph Dickens.

“We’ve got two Petersons, two Micahs, we’ve had a Colin and a Collin and we’ve had two Joes,” Pueschel said. “It’s starting to get a little weird.

“It’s going to be a different show, a different production, a different lighting show, so it should be pretty cool.”

The lighting was indeed spectacular. Most of the band members grew up in Hawaii and they proudly displayed rainbow colors in the Biggest Little City in the World.

Last month, Iration released its fifth album, “Double Up,” comprised of acoustic versions of songs from its recording career, which began in 2007. The group has toured nationally since 2008. The players are from Hawaii and started the band while attending school in Santa Barbara. The lineup has stayed the same with the exception of Kai Rediske, who shared vocals with Pueschel. Rediske is enjoying a “quiet life” with his family and animals on the Big Island.

A highlight of “Double Up” is the album’s opening track “Turn Around.” It is played acoustically, the way it was written by Rediske, a contrast to the arrangement on the 2010 record “Time Bomb.”

“We made it a more of a radio-friendly song with a full band and uptempo to give it a little bit of a rockier feel,” Pueschel said. “It kind of transformed into something different. It’s funny because when we (recorded the acoustic version) I sent it to him and he was like, ‘Dude, that’s what I was talking about!’

“It was cool to give the songs a new life. I really enjoyed updating them to where we are as a band now.”

It won’t be too long until Iration returns to the studio. Current events have inspired Pueschel to write more songs.

The group had a memorable performance last summer at a Bernie Sanders rally in the Los Angeles Coliseum.

“It was already pretty much decided that Hillary was going to win the nomination, but we felt it was a good opportunity for us to put our names in the political process. Obviously, our view aligns a little more on the liberal side with Bernie. It there’s any positive to be taken from Mr. Trump’s presidency is that he really fueled a lot of emotion and new music for me.

“I want to take something positive out of it. It’s really disappointing. As a band that preaches love and equality and treating everyone with respect, it’s a downer. We are going to go out there and still bring the same message because this is a time when people need it the most. People don’t want to hear negativity and division. They want to hear togetherness.”

Related story: Zach Deputy, Protoje put irie in Iration show. LINK

Tahoe Onstage

Micah Brown shreds on lead guitar.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Tahoe Onstage

Emerald irie: Iration’s Cason Peterson, left, Pueschel and Joseph Dickens.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Tahoe Onstage

Adam Taylor’s face and bass sets the mood at the Cargo.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Sparking the scene are Drake Peterson, the newest member, and Adam Taylor.

About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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