Concert Review: SOJA @ the Cabooze Minneapolis
The final chapter in the Strength to Survive story is about to be written. It started with a teaser to promote the release of their new album and is ending with this review of their show at the Cabooze in Minneapolis on February 19th, 2012. Just because this book is about to be done doesn’t mean there will be no more books written about SOJA in the future. The relationship built here is as strong as their message and I want to let everyone know; I am not done yet.
When talking to Jacob Hemphill you understand that it isn’t about getting rich and famous but more about gaining popularity in order to spread their message. SOJA’s passion to spread this message really comes to life when in the presence of one of their live performances. This was apparent from the get go when the band opened up with “Mentality” the opening track on their new album. Jacob was very appreciative of the fans and genuinely thanked everyone that came together on that Sunday night numerous times throughout the show.
The 7-piece band from Washington D.C. were on their 6th show in 6 nights but showed no sign of slowing down. The energy that trumpet player Rafael Rogriguez brought during “Tell Me” made the crowd vibe as one.
The first and only bra was thrown on the stage during the fourth song in the set. Jacob then told the crowd how it signifies that they have their first night off in a week. Another one of their new songs “Slow Down” just happened to follow-up that interesting incident.The crowd in Minneapolis were really into the show singing along for the majority of the show. SOJA’s live show is a perfect blend of crowd vibing jams with mellow folk-like reggae for a rollercoaster ride of a show that will take you up off your feet and then back down to earth so you are firmly planted ready to take tomorrow on. The fans are definitely getting the message and it was nice to see a show where everyone was in such a good place.
SOJA blended their new album with some of the classics to play an amazing show that lasted almost 2 hours. Classic SOJA songs where Bobby Lee takes his deep rastafied voice and gets the crowd elevated was an element that gave their show a stand alone variety of sound.
All of the sounds that are brought to the table from percussionist Kenneth Brownell throughout the show provide entertainment and more of that unique sound that comes with a 7-member band. These 7 musicians play so uniformly and provide the crowd with the natural wonder that is organized chaos.Towards the end of the show they slowed it down with “When We Were Younger” and this song means a lot to the band because it explains how they feel about not having the answers like they once thought. Now that they are wiser they just want to ask the questions to allow their fans to think about what the answers should be.
This was followed by introductions of the band mates that were accompanied by mini-solos. SOJA left the stage only to get the infamous “1 more song” chant. There was no way they weren’t going to come out for an encore after the love the crowd had already shown for them. One part that sticks out in my mind is when Jacob Hemphill was trying to thank the crowd after he finished up a song. He was taken back when the crowd continued to scream and clap for what seemed like an eternity.
The encore started when Jacob walked out alone and started playing “Everything Changes.” He sang the first verse by himself at a really slow pace then the band walked back out and joined him for one hell of a jam-session of a finish.If SOJA ever comes to a city near you I highly recommend you take the trip to go and check this out. From the saxophone and trumpet to the whistles and tambourines you will not be disappointed with any sound that hits your ears. Plus, you will leave in a lot higher spirits with the message that was just delivered to you by the guys of SOJA.
More pics from the show: