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"Katchafire San Francisco Review. June 2007"

By Lucy Wyatt
Katchafire left The San Francisco Bathhouse well and truly smoking last weekend. Their extreme energy was matched by the crowd’s intense respect for New Zealand’s hottest roots reggae band. The well-heated euphoric audience sang passionately, they danced and skanked along to an incredible 3-hour show. To the crowds delight they covered many old favourites like “Colour Me Life” and “Seriously”. The new stuff such as the track “Mr Flava” was greeted enthusiastically.

Formed 10 years ago, this eight-piece band is of Maori descent including 2 generations of 1 family. Grenville Bell founded the band in 1997, originally as a Bob Marley tribute band, now accompanied on stage by his 2 sons, Logan (guitar and vocals) and Jordan (drums). With 2 highly acclaimed albums “Revival”(2003) and “Slow Burning” (2005), and a third to be released this month, “Say What You’re Thinking”, it’s safe to say that these boys are very much on fire.

Saturday’s sell-out gig is definitely reflective of past album sales. (“Slow Burning”, featured “Giddy Up”, the highest selling single of 2003). Subsequently, Katchafire’s reputation on stage is fast becoming legendary throughout New Zealand. I doubt it presumptuous to suggest they are a household name. Such popularity is arguably due to their dedication and desire to tour. They are an accessible band – easy to get to, easy to get down to.

Katchafire gets inside your soul and keeps on burning brightly within. Exceptional vocals, talented writing and sensual depth ensure that nothing can stop the flame. Where there’s smoke there’s definitely fire. Katchafire are now on a mission to raise the spirit of New Zealand to a global level. Yet another world tour is about to begin. Surely then this joyous and harmonious sound will conquer the world. - Wellington Live Music Review

"Reggae-Reviews.com - Katchafire"

King Marley descended upon the land of New Zealand only once in 1978, and his righteous delivery and powerful presence at his one-time show forever changed the direction of the Kiwi music scene. His timeless messages perhaps resonated the most with the indigenous people of the land, the displaced and dispirited Maori. Ever since, buoyant reggae has been a staple export of Kiwi culture, defined perhaps best by the surfing town of Hamilton and its offspring, Katchafire. The LP Revival draws heavy influence from Nesta's Kaya and Steel Pulse's Tribute and takes a kaleidoscopic approach to roots. The eight-piece band is driven by the multi-talented songwriters and crooners Logan Bell (guitar) and Jamey Ferguson (keys and saxophone). Both can consistently be counted on for creating a lovers heavy atmosphere with sing-along tunes and bouncy riddims. Revival starts of heavy with the rolling bass lines and key stabs of "Reggae Revival" and "Get Away," slows with the dreamy lovers rock of "Who You With" and "Colour Me Life," then reaches the peak of its majestic powers with the vibraphone-tinged "Collie Herb Man,"' the heavenly "Seriously," and the organ-drenched funk of "Bounce." The only cover in this set is Marley's "Redemption Song," which falters at the start, but blesses ears as the tempo picks up. In short, it's a fantastic introduction to the distinguished roots scene from "down under," and is a great soundtrack for steamy nights in your cul de sac.

- John Francis - Reggae Review



2003 - Revival

2005 - Slow Burning

2007 - Say What You're Thinking



Katchafire is an all Maori reggae band from Hamilton, who have achieved phenomenal success over the last few years. Their debut album, the prophetically named Revival release by Mai Music, has sold in excess of 45,000 copies with Giddy Up being the biggest selling single of 2003. 2004’s follow up, Slow Burning, was similarly well received, selling 20,000 copies in the first week of release.

The acclaim has not just been in New Zealand though: two tours to Hawaii in 2006 have resulted in sales of 14,000 copies of Revival, and Slow Burning was released there in March 2007. A promotional campaign in the UK last year also garnered amazing feedback from Don Letts (Acclaimed documentary maker and Clash tour DJ) and David Katz (Music journalist) amongst others, and radio plays from Steve Barker (BBC), Charlie Gillet (BBC) and, most importantly, David Rodigan (Kiss FM and others), who highly rates their orthodox approach.

Katchafire are one of the hardest working bands in New Zealand. As well as opening shows for the likes of Damien Marley, Michael Franti and Spearhead, they have played gigs all across the country (three in one day on Waitangi Day 2004, in Hamilton, Manukau and Nelson!), undertaken four tours of Australia, and in November 2004, they headlined a stadium-filling show in Fiji. In March 2005 all their dreams came true when they supported the original Wailers in Auckland. 2006 was their busiest year yet: two tours of Hawaii plus their debut tours of England, Ireland and the west coast of America. They are now working on their third album, due out September, to be released by EMI Music who the band recently signed a licensing deal with.

2007 sees the band with a busy international calendar taking the stage in places such as; Roskilde in Denmark, Rototomsplash in Italy, SummerJam in Germany, Larmer Tree and Rhythms of the World in England. Estimated crowds are at around 300, 000 in total with Rototumsplash and Summer Jam two of the most highly regarded and attended reggae festivals in Europe, if not the world. They also return to Hawaii playing at the Big Birthday Bash in Waikiki, Australia, Guam, Japan and Tahiti.

The band have had sustained domestic exposure; doing gigs for corporates such as Air New Zealand, Vodafone Warriors, and festivals such as Soundsplash, Rhythm and Vines and World Waka Ama Championships. They also continue to work PR opportunities having recently featured in TV3 News on their latest trip to London and also gracing the cover of the latest NZ Musician Magazine, with a three page article covering the band. The band continues to uphold its reputation as one of NZ’s hardest working bands.