By Waleed Rashidi
MEMBERS & INSTRUMENTS:
Scott Hall (lead vocals, rhythm guitar); Jesse Vargas (drums); Ryan Pipitone (bass, backing vocals); Juan Canales (lead guitar, backing vocals).
CITY OF ORIGIN:
Gold Disc EP (2010).
Sublime, 311, Bob Marley, Deftones, Slightly Stoopid, Led Zeppelin, Pepper, Tom Petty, Rebelution, Iration, Tribal Seeds, The Expendables.
It’s quite a remarkable feat for a local band to boast over 200 shows under their belt in a year’s span. Granted, many veteran acts have booked such densely-packed schedules, but Natural Heights aren’t what we’d deem veterans. And that’s what made it even more remarkable, to realize that the Riverside-based reggae/rock foursome were able to accomplish all that (and quite a bit more) after forming just about a year ago. Now, that’s earning your stripes.
The Heights haven’t taken a break since their inception. The band had released their EP last June and managed to gig consistently, even touring through nine states, all the while working on a new album. Talk about naturally reaching some formidable heights.
“There’re so many different meanings for Natural Heights,” says lead vocalist and guitarist Scott Hall. “It’s your take on it—for us, music is our natural height.”
Evidently so. And on the music, the band’s live set varies, but can be approximately half covers (stuff ranges from Sublime and Bob Marley to Tom Petty and 311), half originals. And the development of their original sound has also varied throughout the past 12 months. “It’s always different,” says Hall, on the band’s stylistic shaping, “however we’re feeling at that time, it just comes to us, but nevertheless it’s always uplifting positive music.”
Seems like the stock in such uplifting material has never been higher, as their van’s been routed to Arkansas (of all places), and even up into Utah and Idaho with the Codi Jordan Band. Hall also mentions that Natural Heights even sold out their hometown venue, The Vibe. “[The] house was packed,” he notes. “It was an unforgettable night.”
Add to that an unforgettable work ethic in the local music scene—the band’s got four local shows this week alone. “We play about five shows a month in the Inland Empire,” he says. “We try to spread our music in other areas as much as possible and try to tour other states once a month.”
So, what are these live gigs all about? Hall responds with a laugh: “I guess you’ll have to come see for yourself.”
Natural Heights at The Beach, 8830 Limonite Ave., Pedley, (951) 360-9503, Fri, 8PM; Paddy O’Reillys, 41 W. Ramsey St., Banning, (951) 922-8803; www.myspace.com/paddyoreillys. Sat, 9PM; Lake Alice Trading Co., 3616 University Ave., Riverside, 951.686.7343; www.lakealicetradingco.com, Wed, 9PM; Fusions Martin Bar & Grill, 3550 Porsche Way, Ontario, (909) 484-8444, Thurs, April 28, 9PM.