NEPA Scene Staff

Ska/reggae rockers Elephants Dancing and Joint Operation get funky at Jazz Cafe in Plains on July 23

Ska/reggae rockers Elephants Dancing and Joint Operation get funky at Jazz Cafe in Plains on July 23
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From a press release:

Baltimore reggae funk band Joint Operation and Wilkes-Barre’s own reggae rockers Elephants Dancing will perform together at the River Street Jazz Cafe in Plains on Friday, July 23.

Franklin House, a genre-bending local band that blends folk, jam, Latin, funk, and more, will open the 21+ show.

Doors at the Jazz Cafe (667 N. River St., Plains) open at 8 p.m., and the music starts at 9 p.m. Tickets, which are $12 in advance, are on sale now via Prekindle.

Joint Operation is a powerful rock ‘n’ roll band from Baltimore, Maryland. This explosive four-piece has made quite a presence up and down the East Coast and throughout the Midwest and has been billed with some of the biggest names in the genre.

Looking into the core of their music, you can hear influences of bands they all grew up loving. A little like the musicianship of The Beatles mixed with the funkiness of Red Hot Chili Peppers – throw in some Devo stage action and you’ve got JO. With the filling sounds of Josh Lewis’ powerful vocals and Mike Busch’s savory guitar licks, listeners will be up and feeling the music in no time. Accompanying them is the rhythm section, made up of Daniel Gallagher’s funky bass hits that are always right in the pocket and drummer Fabrizio Scotto’s hard-hitting fills and snaps. The group values the idea of connecting with others through their music while giving the audience a live performance they will never, ever forget as they scream out their problems at the top of their lungs. JO brings feeling.

Their debut album, “Scuffed,” was released on July 27, 2019, gaining over 26,000 streams in just the first week and reaching over 148,000+ streams a year later. Accompanying this release was a sold-out album release show at The 8×10 in Baltimore. This record focuses on life, happiness, and struggles while bringing the party with the lively music of their mixed genres.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the band took to the studio and wrote like never before. On Dec. 4, 2020, the single “Overlooked” dropped from their upcoming record, gathering 46,000 streams within two months. On Feb. 19, 2021, the group dropped their sophomore release “The Thrill of Stress,” garnering 88,000+ streams on Spotify alone in less than a month.

Always trying to be greater, Joint Operation is about expressing yourself, making what you love, and not giving a damn about the naysayers. With huge performances and countless tours under their belt, they are ready to travel farther out and share their music with others, hoping to push themselves harder and celebrate music and art all over the globe.

Elephants Dancing is an eight-piece reggae/ska band from Wilkes-Barre driven by the chill beach vibe and powerful roots of reggae. The group delivers an island feel, filled with heavy grooves, fun melodies, syncopation, and clever raps.

Elephants Dancing was created by singer/songwriters Michael Iorio (lead vocals/bass) and Danny Sales (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), who were childhood friends. After experiencing several lineup changes since the band’s inception in the summer of 2015, the full and unique sound that the band possesses is fulfilled through the versatility and spunk of its members: Ross LeSoine (tenor sax/percussion), Miles Fagley-Orfanella (trumpet/percussion), Karl Rucker (lead guitar), Samantha Carwell (keyboard), and Jerry Coyle (drums). The Elephants groove to roots reggae, island hip-hop, and beach rock, but the influences go much farther. Both writers are influenced by a wide variety of genres, including pop punk, metal, rap, math rock, and classical.

In the winter of 2016, the Elephants released their debut EP, “Clear Skies,” which paved the way for their creative growth. Soon after, in the spring of 2017, the 19-song full-length album “Rituals” was released, encapsulating many of the band’s influences and setting the tone for the road ahead. Over the summer of 2017, the band refaced itself and solidified its lineup, adding another guitar and two-man horn section featuring a tenor sax and trumpet/flugelhorn. As the summer of 2017 approached its end, the single “Sunshine” debuted, featuring the revamped lineup for the first time.

Amidst the growing process, Elephants Dancing was awarded Song of the Year at the 2016 Electric City Music Conference for “Panic Static” and was honored the following year with the 2017 Reggae/Jam/Funk Band of the Year award. To date, Elephants Dancing has performed on bills with acts such as Badfish, Ballyhoo!, Bumpin’ Uglies, Roots of Creation, Of Good Nature, and The Waffle Stompers.

The band channeled summer vacation vibes on their next full-length album, “Get Tropical,” in 2018 and most recently released the singles “Tiki Time” on Aug. 7, 2020 and “Roach Blunt” on Jan. 8, 2021.

Learn more about Elephants Dancing in an interview with Michael Iorio and Danny Sales in Episode 140 of the NEPA Scene Podcast:

Photo of Elephants Dancing by Rich Howells/NEPA Scene