Oregon-based reggae five-piece Synrgy played Tempe's Sail Inn on Friday night, along with locals Kush County and Vegas-based Lady Reiko and the Sin City Prophets. The entire show was played on the Sail Inn's indoor stage, which generally would be a bad thing. (Even jovial Synrgy fron man Brian Zach called having to play indoors "a bummer" in the days leading up to the show.)
But with island music coming from all directions, all problems of venue were easily forgotten as the crowd swayed to the chill tones of the three acts. With the tie-dye apparel tent set up in the corner, Tempe Town Lake in sight, and a bar area that rapidly became as humid as an island night, the show almost began to feel like it was part of a tropical vacation.
Kush County opened, followed by Lady Reiko and the Sin City Prophets, and both acts attracted decent crowds. Once Synrgy hit, though, the venue really got packed from front to back. Compared to a lot of the reggae acts around town, Synrgy plays a more traditional style.
Many of the local reggae acts blend punk and rock stylings into their songs; Synrgy goes for a smoother, more relaxed vibe. The more traditional stylings are especially evident on its new EP, Summertime, the release Synrgy is currently touring behind. (The last time Synrgy came to town, it sported a completely different lineup, one that included a much heavier rock-influenced guitarist in Clay Baker.)
On this go-round, guitarist Chase Larue was playing lead, and he's a much more calming influence than Baker, though he is not without his own flair. Larue showed some razzle-dazzle mid-set during "Blow Those Clouds Away," when he played slide guitar while balancing a full beer.
Also playing in this version of Synrgy was original bass player Scott Kransberg, who, along with Zach, is a Phoenix native, and a former student of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.
It seems, however, that regardless of who plays with him, Zach is the heart and soul of Synrgy. In his orange tie-dyed heart T-shirt, Zach exudes love and happiness, and his positive lyrics seem so knowing when he tells the crowd to "embrace the change."
In some ways, Zach comes off as a reggae Brandon Decker [of Sedona-based desert-folk outfit decker.]. His shows come off as half musical experience and half spiritual experience. He really seems to find peace in his own music.
Synrgy covered the entirety of its new EP, but the band also had time to dip into older stock with songs like "Blow Those Clouds Away, " Shackles," and the song it closed with, "California," among others.
Zach and company had the entire room full right up until the end of the set, with an audience that not only included both Zach and Kransberg's parents, but also The Hourglass Cats frontman Cori Rios and KWSS personality Kevin Gassman.
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Though Sail Inn's outdoor stage is definitely one of the best places to catch a show in the Valley, doing the entire show inside and having the outdoor sections be strictly for socializing just kind of worked for the atmosphere of the show. Synrgy had a lot to do with that.