The Green

The Green

$25.00 - $30.00
All Ages
The Green performs LIVE February 23, 2022 with Keznamadi

With much of the live music industry scaled back or in a holding pattern for 2020 and 2021 due to the

COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, many musicians enjoyed an extended hiatus at home with family and

friends and additional time to focus on their music. Hawaii-based reggae band The Green sum up their

period of self-reflection, as well as overcoming personal challenges, on the title track of their 6



album, Brand New Eyes, out November 5th (Easy Star Records/Ineffable Records). A powerful roots

reggae song, “Brand New Eyes” was co-written by one of The Green’s four lead singers, JP Kennedy, and

Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Kimie Miner.

“Kimie is a friend of the band and the song was inspired by us becoming new parents at about the same

time, but as our latest album came together, the song evolved into a whole new thing,” explains JP

Kennedy. One of the greatest accomplishments for JP during lockdown was going into rehab; throughout

that time the band kept up their rigorous rehearsal and work schedules. “When I was away, the band

took that time to evolve so when I got out, we had a whole new foundation of what we are working

from; I was blown away by that. Even though ‘Brand New Eyes’ was written years ago, it speaks to where

the band is now, what centers us to achieve the same goal. The song is relevant to looking at your life

and trying to make things better.” “It’s about having minds of our own, different lives, seeing things from

a different perspective,” adds vocalist Caleb Keolanui, who co-produced “Brand New Eyes,” alongside JP,

Leslie Ludiazo, and Lapana Ieriko, the crew that also produced the tracks “Stay True,” “Feeling Free,” and

“DFRTNLY,” all recorded at Honolulu’s Live Animaux Studio.

The Green are among the very first reggae bands from the Hawaiian islands to extensively tour the US

mainland and perform in such far-flung locales as Japan and New Zealand. One of the genre’s busiest

acts, prior to headlining their own tours, the band supported many American reggae bands including

Rebelution, Iration, SOJA, and even Jamaica’s Damian Marley. Grammy winning pop superstar Bruno

Mars selected The Green to open his three sold out shows at Honolulu’s Blaisdell Arena in 2014 and his

two sold out dates at Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium, Hawaii’s largest outdoor venue, in 2018. The Green have

also appeared on several of America’s biggest music festivals, including the Vans Warped Tour, Wakarusa,

Life Is Beautiful, Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, One Love Cali Reggae Festival, California Roots

Festival, and Rebelution’s Bright Side Festival in Jamaica. The Green launched their forthcoming album by

performing two consecutive shows on May 20-21, 2021, at an event called Brand New Eyes: The

Experience. It was held on the rooftop of Waikiki’s International Market Place and is Hawaii’s first rooftop

concert; the concert footage will be released at a later date.

For band members Ikaika Antone (keyboards, vocals) and Zion Thompson (guitar, vocals), who became

first time fathers during the pandemic, the lockdown afforded expanded time to bond with their

newborn daughters; for the entire band, the lockdown provided an opportunity for deeper

concentration on their music making. “Because we weren’t touring, we were able to pull the album

together in a way that we couldn’t before,” says Ikaika. “Now that our families are growing, it’s time to

get more proactive with our music, so the pandemic was a blessing in disguise, and we adapted really


One of the album’s standout tracks is the ballad “Young Man,” produced by Imua Garza. Ikaika takes the

lead, openly sharing the struggles he and his wife experienced trying to conceive their daughter; the

song is tenderly written from the perspective of their unborn child. “I wrote the song over the process of

trying to conceive, beginning with our first miscarriage, then having trouble getting pregnant again, then

we had another miscarriage, an 18-month span that ends with a pregnancy that we held on to,” reveals

Ikaika. “The listener might not get that, but they will get that someone is lost, maybe struggling with an

addiction.” When Ikaika wails, “living life on the bottle and a hand on the needle, planting a seed will be

harder for now,” he’s not depicting a drug addict or an alcoholic’s unstable reality, he’s referencing the

fertility drugs that his wife took to conceive their child. “Ultimately, whatever the song will mean to

people will be powerful in some way,” Ikaika continued, “and I hope they get the message of hope, love

and strength because those were the things that helped us to persevere during that time.”

The Green was formed in 2009 with Caleb Keolanui (lead and backing vocals), Ikaika Antone (keyboards,

lead and backing vocals), JP Kennedy (lead and backing vocals, guitar), Zion Thompson (lead and backing

vocals, guitar) and Brad Watanabe (backing vocals, bass, keyboards, guitar, drums). Drummer Jordan

Espinoza joined in 2011, replacing Leslie Ludiazo, who remains the band’s musical director. The Green’s

self-titled debut was recognized by iTunes as the Best Reggae Album of 2010. In 2014, the band received

three prestigious Na Hoku Hanohano awards (considered Hawaii's equivalent of the Grammys): Group of

the Year, Reggae Album of the Year and Entertainer of the Year. They’ve also had three albums released

via Easy Star Records that topped the Billboard Reggae Album chart, 2011’s Ways and Means (which

spent four weeks at number one), 2013's Hawaii 13, and 2017’s Marching Orders, which stayed in the

top 10 for 18 consecutive weeks, regaining the no. 1 spot three separate times. Marching Orders was

distinguished as the Best Reggae Album at the 2018 Na Hoku Hanohano awards. In 2019, The Green

released an acoustic set of their greatest hits, Black & White, the same year they were named Group of

the Year at Hawaii’s Island Music Awards, created by Hawaii’s no. 1 reggae radio station, Island 98.5 FM.

The varied cast of producers complementing the enhanced writing on Brand New Eyes’ 11 tracks brings

out a bolder shade of The Green. They include Jamaica’s Phillip “Winta” James on “Recipe” and “Lost

You” and Brooklyn’s Ricky Blaze on “Feelings.” Brian Fennell (a.k.a. SYML, a successful artist in his own

right) who has worked with Third Eye Blind, OneRepublic and with The Green on Marching Orders, helms

the production on “Coming Home,” “Blue Skies,” and “My Friend (Don't Give Up).” “We get a lot of

inspiration from each song and as our songwriting grows, that has an effect on everything, including

who’s producing it,” notes Ikaika. “From album to album, we recognize that our songs are getting more

mature so sonically, it evolves in the same way.” “With Brand New Eyes we have a pretty good size

production team, which allows us to take songs to places that we wouldn’t have been able to on our

own,” adds JP. “Songs like ‘Recipe’ (a sultry interpolation of legendary English band Aswad’s ‘Your

Recipe’), ‘Lost You’ (an exquisite reggae love lament), and the irresistible soca-tinged ‘Feelings’ (featuring

Jamaican singer Gyptian and J Boog) are completely Jamaican produced; that’s the result of having years

in the game, being able to work with veterans and not having to do everything ourselves.” Other guest

artists include Alborosie on the redemptive reggae track “Feeling Free” and Keznamdi on the ethereal

“Blue Skies.”

The Green has earned rave reviews from Billboard, which described their music as “a powerful sonic

identity that fuses late 1970s-era dub-heavy roots reggae with strands of contemporary rock/pop/R&B

and sporadic indigenous Hawaiian musical and lyrical references.” Top Shelf Reggae enthused: “The

Green as a musical force cannot be overstated; they are one of the most consistently loved bands in the

genre.” The band has almost 1 million monthly active listeners on Spotify, nearly 50 million total plays on

Apple Music and over 311 million lifetime streams on Pandora.

As The Green prepares to hit the road again in 2022, Brand New Eyes’ heart wrenching ballad “Coming

Home” ruefully expresses the most challenging aspect of touring faced by musicians: telling their young

children they are leaving home, again. “I wrote the chorus and two verses, and Caleb wrote the second

verse,” says bassist Brad Watanabe. “When we were on tour, I saw the boys talking to their kids back

home and I thought, what is it like for the kids when we leave?” Sensitively conveyed by Caleb’s lead,

“Coming Home” is notable because it is partially written and sung in ʻŌlelo Hawai’i, the indigenous

Hawaiian language that was banned in schools and government by the United States in 1898. Five years

earlier, a consortium of sugar and pineapple businessmen, the American minister to Hawaii, and heavily

armed soldiers and marines deposed and subsequently imprisoned Hawaii's Queen Lili’uokalani,

conspired to annex the islands to the US, and seized 1.75 million acres of crown land. Hawaii became a

US territory in 1900 and the 50

th US state in 1959, by which time the Hawaiian language had nearly

vanished. A revival began in the 1980s and Hawaiian Language Immersion Schools were created to

provide K-12 Hawaiian language education. “I have been learning Hawaiian for the past three years,

teaching at a Hawaiian Immersion School, and the language has become a really big part of my life; I

didn’t set out to write the lyrics in Hawaiian - they just came to me that way,” adds Brad. “Brad is the

one guy in the band who doesn’t have kids yet, so coming from him, this song is a very impactful,

universal take on the whole story,” offers JP. “We also take great pride in our Hawaiian culture, so it’s

massive for Brad to be taking up the Hawaiian lyrics and putting them into our music.”

Brand New Eyes concludes with “My Friend (Don’t Give Up)” a polished, soulful fusion with empowering

lyrics that offer an important reminder: “You are enough, more than enough and never, ever change,” a

sentiment that has gotten the band through their greatest hardships. “Responding to adversity is

something that we are naturally good at,” reflects JP. “We all come from humble beginnings and when

things start to get rocky, we toughen up and just get it done. Throughout the pandemic, we just

hunkered down and did what we needed to do. I am so proud of Brand New Eyes; I am proud of all of

our albums, but the way this one happened through all of the challenges, I am so stoked to share it.”

Venue Information:
Mesa Theater
538 Main ST

Grand Junction, CO, 81501