By Jenna Lazenby
This year’s FloydFest On the Rise series was chocked full of major talent. One band, The Hip Abduction, out of St. Petersburg, Florida, already has a considerable following and is currently in the midst of a tour that is carrying them up and down the east coast and out into New Orleans and Colorado.
On Friday at FloydFest, I walked into the Pink Floyd Beer Garden, a few songs into the first set, to find a substantial crowd pressed up against the stage, fully energized by the indie pop jams. The group had another packed stage under the VIP tent the following day and the buzz about their sound and energy was high amongst audience members.
The Hip Abduction music is filled with uplifting melodies that bring a tropical flair to its blend of reggae, rock, and roots music that incorporates steady electronic afro beats. Songs like “Come Alive,” “Live It Right,” and “Holiday” carry the mind to island time and send a surge of good vibrations through the body and into the feet. Its musical prozac, minus all the nasty side affects.
The septet leader David New has lived a variety of places, including a stint in Virginia when he studied environmental science at UVA. Following school, he moved to the Bahamas and spent a couple of years teaching sailing and scuba diving. Those experiences all feed into The Hip Abduction sound.
“When I was in the Bahamas the only radio station you could pick up was Jamaican in Havana. I grew up listening to country music, blue grass, a little Reggae but that area really opened up the West African music and I really started exploring different types of music at that point.”
After their set on the VIP stage, members of the band hung around to chat and take pictures with fans.
“It’s great vibes here and probably the nicest group of people we’ve ever dealt with,” New said about his FloydFest experience. “Both the shows were amazing. I’m ready for a nap though. I haven’t slept in two days and now my brain is dead.”
The Hip Abduction made its way into the On the Rise competition by winning an earlier battle of the bands at the Phoenix in April. While here, the group took a breather to enjoy some of the region’s outdoor amenities, something New says is necessary to surviving life on the road. Nature and outdoor adventures often also serve as inspiration for the band’s original songs.
“It’s so green here. We slept under the stars last night. It was awesome. Last time we were in Roanoke we hiked Devils Marble Yard. That was insane. We did something like five hikes in four days. When we have a couple of days off we go fishing, mountain biking, do all kinds of outdoor stuff. When you’re on the road you don’t get that time off, you go to a club, get in a car, go to sleep, play another club, it kills you. Taking time to get outside rejuvenates you.”
Lucky for us, The Hip Abduction will be bringing the island jams back to our region over Labor Day Weekend for Front Porch Fest. The group returns again on September 16 to play at Martin’s Downtown before they join New Orleans funk band Galactic for a few select shows. In the meantime, check them out online at www.thehipabduction.com
David New (lead vocals, guitar), Pat Klemawesch (kamale ngoni, guitar, vocals), Chris Powers (bass), Dave Johnson (baritone and tenor sax), Paul Chlapowski (keyboards), Matt Poynter (drums, vocals), and John Holt III (kamale ngoni, guitar, vocals)