KAILUA-KONA — The members of Hawaii-based reggae band The Green have been bandmates since they formed in 2009. Four albums and numerous cross-country tours later, they’re more of a family than they are business partners and friends.
“I think being with the boys is the best part (of touring), so it’s good that we have that bond,” Ikaika Antone, a vocalist, keyboardist and founding member of The Green, said. “We don’t have any drama on the road, and that’s important because we’re living together in a small bus for months, and if the vibes aren’t right, then it would be really bad. But we’re lucky. We’re kind of like brothers; if we do fight, it’s kind of a brotherly fight.”
The Hawaii brothers are Antone, Caleb Keolanui, Zion Thompson, JP Kennedy, Brad Watanabe and Jordan Espinoza, and they are currently on tour to promote their newest album, Marching Orders. The band’s fourth album, it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard reggae chart when it was released in October. It also reached No. 62 on Billboard’s top 200 sales chart, making it the band’s highest-charting album.
The group returns to Hawaii and will perform in Kailua-Kona at 7 p.m. Saturday at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel as the third stop on the Hawaii leg of their tour. The band also plays at E Komo Mai Lounge in Hilo on Friday.
“I think the Hawaii shows are way cooler,” Antone said. “It’s our home, so we want to put a lot back into the show. It’s just more fun. We don’t get to play here a lot, and we do that on purpose. We don’t want to play every weekend, we want to keep the people wanting more and coming back, and that allows us to do bigger shows.”
Getting to play The Green’s music live and seeing the reaction from the crowd is Antone’s favorite part of performing. For this tour, the audience will get to hear a mix of songs from all four of their albums, including their latest one, which they haven’t before played live on Hawaii Island. Antone said the song “Foolish Love” from that album is his favorite to perform on stage.
“These shows coming up in Hilo and Kona, we’re going to play new music that we’ve never played yet here,” Antone said. “We just played the KCCN FM 100 Birthday Bash in Oahu and that was the first time we got to play this new music in Hawaii, so now were taking the show to the Big Island, and to play the new songs in front of the crowd is going to be awesome.”
The band’s members are all songwriters and singers, and Antone said the medley of different voices coming together is what sets The Green apart from other bands.
“We are sort of who we are, and I think the compilation of our different personalities and styles of writing and music sort of makes us who we are and it sort of gives us our own original identity compared to other bands,” Antone said. “Every band has something that’s unique about them, and I think for us it’s just the variety that each guy brings to the table that gives us our sound that would differentiate us from other bands.”
Antone said family is big inspiration for the songs he and the other band members write.
“Everyone’s having kids and getting married and I think that has a lot do with the inspiration for our songs, especially for this last album,” Antone said.
For Antone, playing in Kona means he gets to be with his family after the stress of performing.
“We tour the mainland about five months a year, and touring is hard out there. Playing shows out here is easier because we get to go home after the show, if we live on Oahu,” Antone said. “I live on the Big Island, and this weekend I’m especially stoked because I get to come home after the show and see my own family.”
Born and raised in Oahu, he moved to Hawaii Island five years ago with his wife. They now live in Kealakekua.
“It was the best decision I’ve ever made,” Antone said of his move to the Big Island. “I really love this island, and I think it’s one of the coolest islands. I live in the country, and compared to where we come from on Oahu this is country living and I love it.”
And while being able to travel and explore new places is an “awesome” experience, being able to perform shows in Hawaii are always the band’s favorite.
“I think it’s just a lot more fun and cool to play in front of our home crowd, because Hawaii has always been our first support that we’ve had in music, and that shows,” Antone said. “It’s always been the strongest market for us, and I think that’s what makes the shows awesome and super fun to play.”