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Zolopht Replace Pineapple Crackers As Go-To Reggae Band

By David Goe

In many respects, tonight marks the end of an era and the beginning of another for the Grand Junction local music scene.

This evening at the Mesa Theater and Lounge aloha means goodbye.

It’s time for us to say farewell to the Pineapple Crackers, perhaps the most popular and beloved band the area has ever known.

The man who put the pineapple in Pineapple Crackers, ukulele strumming lead singer Benson Broyles, is headed home to Hawaii. His departure marks the end of the Hawaiian reggae vibes that dominated area PA systems for nearly a decade.

Virtually everyone I know has seen the band play. Personally, checking out Pineapple Crackers shows were some of my first bar experiences as a newly minted 21-year-old. Chilling with “Big” and “Slim,” aka my Mesa State College bookstore hommies Marcus and Ike, we ended up at its shows whether we intended to or not. Pineapple Crackers played everywhere, and we were there in the beginning when original guitarist and the “Cracker” Paul Roach was with the band.

We saw them at the Rockslide, always at the Rockslide. They’d be there at the Mesa Theater, likely playing with fellow reggae group Lion Vibes. I think we even ran into them at the Rose, now Club Infinity, in some battle of the bands contest for a spot at one of the first Rock Jams.

Pineapple Crackers played anywhere and everywhere and outside of a few lineup changes, little has changed since its beginning. The band’s constant gigging and easy sound earned them thousands of Facebook likes, headlining shows at any local venue, and slots at local festivals such as the inaugural WestCO Music Festival last May.

Regardless of how you feel about the band and its music, they have been the most consistent performing group and the consensus safe pick for anyone booking live music for their event. With Pineapple Crackers now officially calling it quits it begs the question, who is going to step up and take its place as Grand Junction’s go-to band?

Look no farther than the Friday, Sept. 6, night show opener Zolopht and the Destroyers.

For some inexplicable reason, Colorado loves reggae music. It’s a statewide affliction.

From my experience in the local music scene, reggae bands always have been the biggest draws.

In Grand Junction, though there seems to be a bit of a Rastafari Highlander situation going on. There can be only one reggae band, mon.

The reggae torch has passed down from Lion Vibes to the Pineapple Crackers, and now to Zolopht and the Destroyers.

Zolopht is primed for a break-out year. The band has spread its smooth jams and positivity vibe for quite some time and steadily grown a loyal fan base. This fall, look for them to take a big step forward.

Besides opening Friday night (sure to be one of the bigger local shows of the year), Zolopht also will headline two upcoming local music festivals.

First, off Zolopht will headline “Localpalooza,” a four band local showcase at the Mesa Theater on Sept. 20.

Second, they are one of the key headliners of the most ambitious local music project I’ve heard about, Cody Jacob’s two-day, two-stage outdoors event, the “Localeyez” Music and Arts Festival on Oct. 12–13.

Zolopht has that rare quality among local bands: It enjoys cross over success while maintaining artistic credibility. Its members play music they love and write their own originals. It’s an appealing mix.

While it may be sad to think about Friday’s farewell show as the end of an era, I prefer to think about it as the start of a new chapter. Pineapple Crackers will be missed, but the band taking its place is more than worthy.

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