Band of the Week: Tropidelic

Concert Preview

Meet the Band: Matthew Roads (vox), James Begin (trombone/vox), Bobby Chronic (guitar), Darrick Willis (drums), Casey Williams (percussion), Todd Marshall (bass), Tim Younessi (sax), Derek McBryde (trumpet)

Background: Tropidelic started out in Kent around 2008. Various lineup changes hit the band as they relocated to Cleveland in 2011. Influence-wise, founder and singer Matthew Roads has always injected some 311 and Slightly Stoopid-oriented sounds into what he and his bandmates create. They've become local funk/jam staples, appearing often at local venues as they gradually began expanding their touring scope.

'Police State': Cleveland Heights police raided the band's rehearsal space in May 2014. They were holding a warrant for a previous tenant who had lived there several years prior. Guns were drawn, leaving the musicians wondering what in the hell was going on. This wasn't even the first time the cops had pulled that move. "They screwed up," Road says. "For them to come back a second time — I mean, all they had to do was check the housing records. There wasn't any explanation." The band's latest album, Police State, is built thematically from the aftermath of that event. They'll release that during this weekend's Grog show.

Expanding: "We just kept getting bigger and bigger. We have three horns now and a percussionist — eight total people onstage," Roads says. The band performed about 100 shows in 2014 — their biggest year yet. When we spoke with Roads last week, the band was down in Key West, Fla., touring around in a renovated school bus alongside beloved Sublime tribute Badfish. For his part, Roads says he just quit his day job, putting Tropidelic's success directly in his sitelines for the future. "There's no alternative," he says. "It's all about finding your niche. What makes your group special compared to everybody else? There are tons of reggae-rock bands out there." As far what's to come, Roads hinted at some major announcement coming soon and another EP due out sometime in the fall.

Why You Should Hear Them: We all love a party here in Cleveland, and Tropidelic's brand of reggae-infused jams turns any night at a bar on our mean streets into an equatorial beach bash. You like dancing? You've got it. "We want to bring a party, and I think what makes us stand out is that energy that we have," Roads says. "It's really about that energy for life. That parlays on the live show. We're a welcome-all kind of band. We're not pretentious about who we are or who our fans should be."

Where You Can Hear Them:

Where You Can See Them: Tropidelic performs at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, at the Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights.

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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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