The Alliez

Whenever someone mentions the word “allies,” I usually think of the Big Three, and I’m not talking about car companies. I’m going back to WWII here. While the USSR has collapsed, good music never dies. If that’s true, the Alliez are pretty much immortal.

The Alliez are not just any old reggae band. This is a band that defies classification. Their sound ranges from classic rock to Latin jazz to hip hop, all of it infused with a reggae flavor, creating a perfect harmony. The Alliez have that distinct island vibe, expertly interwoven with the tunes of San Diego and Los Angeles. The song “Higher Ground” is a perfect example of the melting together of different genres to create a whole new sound. More recently, their song “Till U Say Stop” has been enjoying regular radio play.

As their music makes evident, the Alliez emphasize bumpin’ beats, powerful lyrics and all around good vibes. Not only that, but their tunes hint at the fun-loving personalities of the band members. Usually, I’m suspicious of a band that intentionally misspells its name as well as song titles, but in the Alliez’s case I’ll make an exception.

The Alliez were founded in Maui by Ben Cerda (bass, guitar) and Jacob Abeytia (vocals, guitar). Eventually, the band grew to include Tom Fernandez (lead guitar), Ryan Kelly (drums, percussion) and Paul Bunuan (sax). Currently, Jesse Smith is filling in for Ryan, who is in San Diego. Past members include Dale Hauskins (rhythm, lead guitars) and Isaac (keyboards).

Asked about their musical influences, they name the Police, Bob Marley, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 311 and Steel Pulse, among others. While you can hear reverberations of these bands in their music, the Alliez have created a sound that is undeniably their own.

On February 28, they released their debut, self-titled album, The Alliez. Their music has become a local favorite and they’ve established a very loyal fan base, with many people traveling from one island to another just to watch this phenomenal band play live. They’ve landed gigs at many local venues including Casanova’s, Charley’s, Oceans Beach Bar & Grill and played the Kauai Music Festival. They’ve also gained the respect of their peers, playing alongside topnotch bands like Ooklah the Moc, Inna Vision and Mike Pinto.

You would think that all this success would go to their heads. But the band is still down to earth enough to head to the beach for an impromptu jam session. (Luckily for everyone else, these are guys you actually want to see shirtless at the beach.)

As 2009 dawns, the Alliez have resolved to tour California in the summer and finish their new album. I don’t know about you, but that sure beats my resolution to lose weight. Again. Be sure to keep your eyes (and ears) out for this outstanding new band. Because when these guys make it big, we’ll all be bragging that they’re from Maui, and we saw them first. MTW



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