HomeGrown talent back on song
The original HomeGrown band is back after a pretty long hiatus.
It's been seven years since Justin Bernzweig, Spencer Wood, Ian Evans, Cullen O'Hara and McCannon “Mox” Cassidy regularly performed together.
441 Productions has reunited the group for New Year's Eve.
The reggae band will open for retro rockers Neon Nostalgic as part of celebrations at Pier 6 Hall on Front Street.
“We're super excited to get back together and play again,” said Mox, the group's lead singer.
He joined “the first generation of HomeGrown” in 2006, as its audio engineer. Saxophonists, the late Neil Burnie and Oscar Deuss, were then also part of the group.
“I got a request to help a new band out — doing sound, mixing. I helped make the band sound good on the stage,” the 36-year-old said.
“I'd always been on the stage, doing Gilbert & Sullivan and BMDS. My father, Joel Cassidy, sings and plays the guitar so I had a love of music passed down from him. But this kind of happened by mistake. I went in to make and record music. The live thing wasn't on the agenda.”
HomeGrown were then regular entertainers at White Horse Pub & Restaurant and Ozone nightclub. Somehow, Mox got pulled onstage.
“I started singing a few reggae songs and got a response — which was more than we had been getting. The lead singer at the time didn't want to sing anyway so he asked if I could take over the lead.”
By 2008 he was HomeGrown's frontman, building a fanbase with original songs and classic reggae and dancehall covers.
“I was pretty much there for three years — at Docksider's, Snorkel Park, Culture Shock events, all the big shows with 441 Productions. And we started to work with a lot of local acts on island as backing for them.”
Steady gigs from May to September also raised their profile.
“We got lucky and became extremely popular,” Mox said. “We were pretty much the only younger live band going at the time but we ran out of venues to play at. There just weren't enough shows to keep five guys sustained.”
HomeGrown had a one-off performance in 2014, at a fundraiser for the Neil Burnie Foundation held after the veterinarian and ocean activist's death.
“We all went off to play in different bands here and there,” said Mox who, in the wake of the America's Cup tourist influx, performed at The Beach on Front Street, Horseshoe Bay's Rum Bum Beach Bar and Snorkel Park this summer.
“I was pretty well received and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
The band agreed to perform for New Year's Eve “mainly because it's the first time a promoter has wanted to book us”, he laughed.
“We've finally got into a position where we can take on a reunion show. It's been nearly ten years so it's about time to get back together and do something.”
Fans can expect the full repertoire of original songs written by HomeGrown as well as covers of hits by well-known artists such as Barrington Levy, Sizzla and Anthony B.
“Everybody can look forward to hearing most of the songs that we've played over the years — probably a few covers of other local artists as well,” Mox said. “They'll get everything they were used to getting with us and a bit more — that classic reggae vibe we always brought; hard-hitting, high energy, sing along. It's going to be good.”
Watch HomeGrown here: youtu.be/ILJ3-2CvTHA
Rockstar New Year's Eve runs from 9pm-2am with open bar and live music all night. Tickets are $150, VIP $200 on www.ptix.bm