top of page


Photos by: Samantha Madnick

Words by: Rudy Flores

As the palm trees swayed above the Humphrey's by the Bay stage the surprisingly cool September evening breeze blew in ever so slightly and the sun began to set giving way to another beautiful San Diego night full of amazing music. The artist of the evening...Michael Franti & Spearhead with openers Of Good Nature. Let's talk about them for a moment...

The Indie/Funk/Reggae/Rock band out of Charlotte, North Carolina consists of Cam Brown on lead guitar, Brandon Hucks on trombone, David Hamilton Jr. on drums and Clifton (great name btw) on bass. Their sound was undeniably infectious and as more and more people shuffled in they couldn't help but stay on their feet and get their collective grooves on. Take the Ska sounds we all know and love and mix it with a bit of that Dave Mathews growl and Counting Crows charisma and you have Of Good Nature in a nutshell. This band knows how to have a great time on stage and off as Mr. Hucks jumped on a stage manager's shoulders and played through the crowd to end of their albeit short but amazing set. Most definitely worthy of a Spotify checkout for their originals and their own spin on the Red Hot Chili Pepper's "Aeroplane" from their 4 song cover ep release that just dropped in July of this year.

Now for the main event, Michael Franti!!

"All I've learned, All I've burned, All I've earned" was the mantra for the evening as a voice-over and video of Michael talking about the losses had and lessons learned during the pandemic that left so many people devastated, divided, and determined to change the world played on the big screen. It's incredible how amazingly positive this man is after everything that has happened to him personally during this time, the loss of friends and family and what was probably the hardest hitting thing for him...his biological Covid. Heartbreaking, inspiring, incredible.

As he took to the stage everyone in the audience took to their feet and cheered as he dove into a new song called "How We Living" off his 2020 release How We Living/ I'm On Your Side. While he serenaded the crowd his video for the awesome song played behind him showing scenes of fans living their best life during quarantine. Smiling faces, happy dances, t-rex know normal everyday things!

Later in the set a very powerful song came on that everyone at Humphrey's took to heart. "People NEED People", a new song written during the pandemic that talks about how we all just need each other. Kind of in the same vein of the whole "no man is an island" saying. It's very true too, what with the world being "locked up" in a sense because of this virus, we were forced to distance ourselves from family and friends and after a while that definitely takes a toll on the soul. This song took all of those feelings of angst, sadness, loneliness and longing for one another and not only acknowledged them but at the same time managed to give us all a sense that "everything's gonna be alright!". It was much needed during these trying times to say the least. "Good Shit Happens" was another instant classic and life motto for the masses as it told us not to sweat the small stuff because "Bad shit happens but good shit happens too!". Which is something that many of us need to remember.

With this being the last night of tour before the band set sail for the SOULSHINE cruise starting November 3 and running through the 7th, Mr. Franti and friends pulled out all the stops as they performed songs with the opening band and varying crew members. Several times during the 23 song set Michael did his crowd work and ran through the aisles, pulling various people from the audience onto the mic for chorus duets. One of the audience members, a young girl named Abby sang almost an entire song with the band. Apparently she'd been a fan for a while now as she told Michael that she's been to several of his shows in and out of San Diego.

This was definitely a wonderful show full of life and laughter. Michael Franti writes some of the most upbeat and positive music that has the ability to turn the worst day around in no time flat. He somehow manages to be EXTREMELY uplifting without crossing that line into the "so happy it's annoying" category. One of the best shows of the year by far!

Michael Franti & Spearhead:

Of Good Nature:


bottom of page