Thursday July 30th I gathered myself after work and headed down solo to Club Hell on Richmond Street in Providence to catch Innocent Uprising. It had been a while since I’d had the chance to see them play out and knew ahead of time that it was Zig-Zag’s last performance as drummer for the reggae rock quintet. Arriving downtown early with the intention of grabbing a quick dinner before the show, I was nearly heartbroken when I saw Giovanni’s Pizza was closed for renovations (it has since reopened, to much of my jubilation). Sean Nicholas (vocals), Travis McVey (lead guitar), Kyle Nicholas (rhythm guitar), Bobby Terrien (bass guitar) and Jay “Zig Zag” Motte (drums) took to the stage and delivered a set rife with originals and spiced with some covers:
I was acquiring a drink at the bar and still fumbling with my notebook and camera as they began their set with “Break Away.” Travis played a furious intro before the slowed the song down to a more hip shaking reggae rhythm. Picking the pace back up they played a great up-tempo cover of Sublime’s “40oz to Freedom.” Having a blast, Bobby bound off the stage and around the crowd, thoroughly enjoying his wireless bass transceiver. Surprising the crowd, Innocent Uprising played the up beat reggae number, “Every Light.” One of their older songs it had been quite some time since it had been played live. I was enjoying the vantage point from the risers on the dance floor, usually reserved for less than reserved ladies. Picking up the pace, Innocent Uprising provided a rocking version of “Hate to Say I Told You So.” Kyle provided some good harmonizing backing vocals to compliment his brother Sean’s passionate lead. Reaching deep into their song catalog again, they broke out another old favorite, “Face to Face.” Travis strummed furiously introducing the song at a frantic pace, which lent further credence to the drastic timing change before the lyrical verses. The refrain was fast paced yet again, for Travis to slow it back down with a bluesy solo before the next verse. Zig-Zag played an introductory drum solo as Travis switched guitars for the Bob Marley classic “Stir it Up.” During the song I noticed Elese Monroe of For the Love of Sloane come into the club. I decided to make my way to the bar for a beer and change sides of the room to catch up with Elese and ask about some recording I’d heard her band was doing the night before, and for a bit different vantage point of the stage as Innocent Uprising broke into an original crowd favorites, “Common Thread” and “Between the Lines.”
Set up and ready to go on the other riser in the club I was able to catch their next original, “Destination Anywhere,” another of their long standing live favorites. The biggest surprise of the set came next when Innocent Uprising began a cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Sleep Now in the Fire.” A rocking version to say the least, it had the crowd hopping. Kyle use a great wah effect on the rhythm, Bobby was up and down the neck of his bass with a huge grin, Zig-Zag pounded on the drums, and used some of his most impressive fills of the night, Travis blazed on the guitar solo and Sean sang well and rapped even better. Sean was most animated on stage during this cover, making his presence known during the musical interludes. Winding down their set, I.U. played a newer numbers, “Show a Friendly First,” a homage to President Obama. Such a great song, and so topical it was included in the recent Local Flavors Download, make sure to download your copy for a fantastic studio cut. It was a good set from Innocent Uprising. I was certainly sad to see it end as I knew it was Zig-Zag’s last show. Bands change and grow, and form anew every day, an inevitable fact to which I’m growing accustom. I look forward to seeing what their new drummer, Vinny Lepore, brings to the line-up, and have already had the chance to catch Zig-Zag‘s new project, “The Big Half,” look for the write-up in the coming months.