Random yellow and then red flashes of light from the crowd at Pepper's show could only mean one thing. Seconds later the plumes of smoke would slowly rise over their heads, and a synchronous wave of laughter would rush over the crowd. By the end of the night, the Showbox SoDo reeked of five long hours of smoking, drinking, and fucking great music.
Pepper, from the Big Island of Hawaii, served up a performance laced with everything from reggae beats to sex tips. Holding true that you can take the boys off the island, but you can't take the Island off the boys or the music they make.
Most of Pepper's hour-and-a-half long set was done by request, and shirtless. Made up of Bret Bollinger, Kaleo Wassman, and Yesod Williams, Pepper's sound is a sure thing, but their rapport with the crowd is undeniable.
Last night's show was the first stop on the Jagermeister Musictour with Pennywise, and Seattle fans did what they do best, set the bar high. Bollinger admits a fondness for Seattle at one point in the show saying, "you're loud, you have great energy, and you fucking love music".
Pepper has been around the Seattle block, naming venues from Studio Seven to "the other Showbox" all of which they have played over the years. Maybe it was the munchies, but the crowd ate them up, shouting out track after track they wanted to hear.
Pepper was more than willing to deliver only asking in return that we drink more, and put our "punani's up", a diamond like hand configuration that resembled... (Well you can imagine what it resembled).
If you haven't heard of Pepper, you're not alone; they have yet to take the plunge into mainstream 'a la Top 40'. Wassom did have something to say about going big time, " Fuck MTV, but if we ever do make it to MTV we are going to represent and kill all that 'Emo' shit."
And with that a thunderous response from the crowd signaling what most of us feel is long overdue, a source for new and more authentic sounds.