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Album Showcase: Steppadelic – “Overcome”

Every Tuesday, in an unassuming house on a quiet street in the suburbs of Las Vegas, a group of musicians comes together to practice and write. Despite the inevitable conflicts that arise with ten different schedules, the guys of Steppadelic take their craft seriously, carving out this sacred time on a weekly basis. The band’s live performances are a testament to what this type of dedication and professionalism can do, delivering tight, high-energy sets to enthralled audiences who can’t help but to dance along with the music.

Steppadelic started in 2019 when lead singer Izzy and keyboardist Pedroh Uribe were in the band Blvd Massive together. The two wanted to explore a slightly different direction and started a side project they called Steppadelic. Friend and percussionist Ossiris Pinto joined later on, as well as friend-of-a-friend, Kevin LaFontaine, the band’s drummer. The rest of the band members were collected throughout the next few years through Craigslist, making Steppadelic the ten-piece powerhouse it is today. The current lineup includes J.D. San Jose on bass, Henry Cavalier on trumpet, Troy Thill on tenor sax, James Pasqua on lead guitar, Will Henderson on alto sax and Brian Kurtz on trombone.

Some of Steppadelic’s biggest influences include legendary groups like John Brown’s Body and The Twinkle Brothers. The band members’ taste in music is quite varied, from jazz and blues to punk and metal, shaping their unique spin on reggae. Some band members are hispanic as well, which adds a touch of latin flavor to their sound. With all these different elements, it’s no wonder that Steppadelic’s music is so imaginative and addictive.

On May 19, 2023, Steppadelic released their first-ever EP, titled Overcome. The record consists of five tracks of rootsy, dub-heavy reggae that pack a punch and leave you wanting more. Overcome is in many ways a love letter to their dedicated fans as these five songs are featured prominently in all of Steppadelic’s live sets to date. Recorded by the band’s drummer, Kevin LaFontaine, and mixed by Jimmie of Dub Troubles,  the studio versions will  consistently enchant reggae fans as the live versions have done.

The first track on the album, “Dub 64,” is an instrumental with an impressive horns section. Without a word, Steppadelic introduces themselves to the world as a force to be reckoned with, complete with a catchy rockers beat that sets the stage for the rest of the album. Clean and tight, “Dub 64” dips a toe in the waters of roots reggae, preparing the audience for the incoming onslaught of speaker-shaking dub.

“Runaway,” the EP’s third track, was also the first single that Steppadelic released. A hit at every live show, the song’s addicting vocal lines and groovy guitar are as hypnotic as they are masterful, showcasing another flawless rockers beat that draws its audience in. The dub version, aptly titled “Dub Away,” employs dreamy reverb and an artful manipulation of sound and space to create a song that is at once an exquisite homage to the original and also a work of art in its own right.

The EP ends with its title track “Overcome,” featuring a catchy steppas beat and a stellar trumpet and sax combo that help to frame the song’s powerful lyrics. Steppadelic’s message of unity and perseverance shines through in this anthem of positivity, reminding listeners, “We shall overcome.”

Since releasing the EP, Steppadelic has headlined at Las Vegas’ famous Brooklyn Bowl for Ninth Island Reggae Night and also made it to the finals in Life Is Beautiful’s Rising Stars competition. Tomorrow, to all streaming platforms, the band will release their dub version of the EP, titled Overdub, which will consist of dub versions of all five tracks remixed by Jimmie of Dub Troubles. Looking ahead, the band has high hopes of playing for huge crowds and spreading love for reggae and dub music.

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Las Vegas resident Jackie Pasqua is a writer, masters student, and lover of reggae music. Few things bring her more joy than seeing her favorite bands live. When she isn’t working on five different projects at once, you can find her playing Catan, exploring nearby National Parks, or napping with her cats.

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