Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

The Green hit mainland with island reggae

greenThe Green may best represent the new wave of American reggae that has popped up in the last half decade.

Well, on the charts, at least.

The Hawaiian sextet holds true to the vibe and feel traditional “roots” reggae while mixing in rock, jazz, R&B and soul (along with the sounds of their homeland). Its 2010 debut was named best reggae album of the year on iTunes. It’s sophomore album spent 61 weeks on Billboard’s reggae charts, including four weeks in the No. 1 slot. Its latest “Hawaii 13″ debut No. 1 on the same chart last year (it peaked at 77 on the Billboard 200).

That success has helped cement the band’s popularity on the mainland ¬†(though The Green is¬†extremely popular in Hawaii, too. In April, the band opened for Bruno Mars on his sold out three-night stand there). The band stopped in Fresno as part of a six-week West Coast tour and is back on the road for a support spot on Rebelution‘s “Count Me In Summer Tour,” which kicks off next Wednesday.

Here, we chat with guitarist-vocalist Zion Thompson.

Can you talk about the different styles/influences the band pulls from?

We’re a reggae band with many other musical influences other than reggae. We love to add soul, R&B, jazz, rock and even some electronic elements into to our music. We listen to anything and everything, so our songs usually have influences from multiple musical genres. Buffet style. Haha!

We LOVE reggae, though. So when there are elements of reggae in the song, we try and be as authentic as possible with the ‘feel’ of it.

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Fresno, this long goodbye is making me cry.

It’s been about two days since I broke the news in the paper about my upcoming departure, and your well wishes are making me emotional.

Although joining my family’s Hawaiian coffee business is the best way I can honor my late father, it’s hard to leave the Valley. Wednesday’s story includes some fond memories of Koda Farms’ rice, UC Lindcove’s citrus fruit, all the stone fruit, The Double T and fresh figs.

Expect me to celebrate a few more local gems in my remaining stories.

Since you’ve shared so much with me, I thought I’d give you a glimpse of some of my adventures to come.

Going home means I get hugs from my mom:


Here’s my new “office”:


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I had a better week than Red Robin and Claim Jumper.

Jeez, Fresno. I go on vacation for a week, and Red Robin and Claim Jumper decide to close their Fresno restaurants.

Given this town’s love of chains, the closures are surprising, even though we knew both had issues. Donald talked about his sweltering experience at Red Robin earlier this year.

And before I left for Hawaii, I called Fresno’s Claim Jumper to gauge the possibility of an upcoming closure. Every time I asked if the restaurant was going to stay open, the person on the other end never gave me a “yes” or “no” answer. Instead, he simply repeated “We’re fine.”

Based on that response, I figured it wouldn’t be long before they shut up shop.

Mike Oz and Bethany Clough had the news covered. (And Richard Lucido was kind enough to tip us off on Twitter.)

So, what was I doing while Red Robin and Claim Jumper were plotting their closures? Eating this:


And this:

That was the spread at an inaugural event for Hawaii’s new governor, Neil Abercrombie. The folks at the Pahala Plantation House put together a locavore meal with products sourced from the Big Island.

Here’s a closer look at some of the dishes. Let’s start with hearts of palm topped with guacamole:

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One minute of Hawaii

So I’ve been MIA from The Beehive, drinking lava flows, snorkeling with sea turtles, watching a killer sunset from a hot tub overlooking the ocean, and clinking glasses of champagne at Fujimama’s in Waimea.

It was far too beautiful for words, so my husband made a little video to share it with you — and help you relax at your desk.

Scenes are from Hapuna Beach and an aerial tour of the Big Island from Paradise Helicopters. Music is by acclaimed slack-key guitarist Cyril Pahinui. Enjoy!

Yes, I’m a Tease: The Hawaii Edition

UPDATE: Answers are posted here.

ORIGINAL POST: So I’m finally back from vacation in Hawaii, where I had my fill of fresh lilikoi (passionfruit), yellow pitaya (yellow dragon fruit), and other island foods.

While I’m getting back up to speed at the office, here’s a little game for ya: What Hawaiian foods are in these photos? (I’ll post answers later today.)

Photo # 1:

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