Santa Barbara’s season of live music has truly begun with KJEE’s annual Summer Round Up. This year’s line up included SoCal reggae group Soul Majestic and the alternative Judah & the Lion, who performed a good-natured rendition of Killers’ favorite “Mr. Brightside.” Soulfully, energetic group Bishop Briggs gave an exceptional performance full of vocal power and movement, featuring 2016 hits “Wild Horses” and the sultry “River” leaving the atmosphere charged and ready for headliners Empire of the Sun.
As a robotic voiceover introduced them, Empire of the Sun (accompanied by backup dancing aliens per the group’s extraterrestrial aesthetic) took the stage and delivered a multi-faceted performance that felt at times like a rave with the psychedelic lightshow and smoke machines, and other times like a metal concert, with insane guitar solos demonstrating the duo’s musical prowess. Highlights included 2016 hit “Friends” and an electrified version of 2008 single, “We Are the People.” “We played the Hollywood Bowl, but this is better,” said the band about Santa Barbara. The mutual enjoyment from musical groups and the audience, of performing and of listening, is what KJEE’s Summer Round Up is all about — coming together to hear feel-good music.