Sometimes it seems like more fights break out at reggae concerts in the Holy City than at other shows. Which is odd considering that reggae is a genre known for its message of peace.
But it’s a safe bet there won’t be any brawls at Spiritual Rez. The horn-laden, funk/reggae ensemble consists of seven former students of Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music, who arrive fresh off a 10-day tour of the Virgin Islands, their second trip to the Caribbean.
“We’re an all-white reggae band, but we transcend that a little bit,” says drummer Ian “Meat” Miller. “The West Indian people and the native Jamaicans are so accepting. If we were trying to do Jah-heavy roots reggae songs, I think we might get a little sneer to that, but we’re more of a dance party.”
Spiritual Rez’s name is open to interpretation. One enthusiastic religious woman they met in the Virgin Islands took it to mean “spiritual resurrection.” Others have suggested resonance, resolve, resilience, and resourcefulness.
The Rez have built their street cred since forming in 2003, opening for greats like Buju Banton and George Clinton. Parliament’s legendary keyboardist, Bernie Worrell (also of the Talking Heads and Snoop Dogg), often sits in with the band in Boston.
With a bit of dirty funk and a generous helping of reggae, Spiritual Rez draws from global influences. Their shows integrate the crowd. One song, an adaptation of a traditional chant from Ghana meaning “old woman, old woman, hold my pipe for me,” includes a call-and-response chorus.
“People generally don’t even know what the hell they’re saying or aren’t pronouncing it right, but it feels so good and the melody’s so right, that it really brings up the level of interaction,” Miller says.
Since their first Charleston shows at Chai’s and Cumberland’s, Spiritual Rez has settled into regular stops at the Pour House. They love playing here, even scheduling days off around the date to enjoy time at the beach.
“It’s the level of courtesy that people afford each other down there. Everyone’s trying to be respectful,” says Miller. “We love it. It’s such a blessing.”
Spiritual Rez plays at the Pour House (1977 Maybank Hwy., 843-571-4343) at 10 p.m. on Tues. March 31. Admission is $8. Visit www.spiritualrez.com.
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