“Irie” is a reggae term that embodies sensations of warmth and positivity. It is seen as a mindset to strive toward, and it is the inspiration behind the San Diego-based band HIRIE.
The “H” in the name pays homage to the Hawaiian roots of the band’s front woman. Inspired by the spirituality surrounding irie, the lead vocalist and guitarist made the namesake part of her identity: she renamed herself Hirie.
Promoting their new album, “Wandering Soul,” the seven-piece band made their debut in San Luis Obispo on Friday at SLO Brew. The band’s morale was high and their energy on stage was apparent and contagious. They also recently claimed a spot on iTunes’ Best Reggae Album List of 2016.
Their set started with one of HIRIE’s mellow tunes, “Queen,” drawing out the song’s intro before their front woman took to the stage. The band created a mystical scene, introducing their talented flute and saxophone players. The combination of the subtle drum buildup meshed effortlessly with the melodic wind instruments, generating a raw sound that enchanted the crowd. After a few minutes, the tribal beat was paired with some island-inspired riffs and HIRIE’s classic sound was in full swing.
After one song, the crowd was sucked into the music. Not one person was seated. The atmosphere transitioned from groups of chatty Friday night bar crawlers to a sea of live music enthusiasts grooving in unison to the band’s melodies.
By the time HIRIE was deep into their most popular track, “You Won’t Be Alone,” concert-goers were breaking out original dance moves, some even brave enough to show off their skills on barstools, much to the displeasure of the SLO Brew staff.