One of Jacksonville’s favorite acts, SOJA, returned to the Bold City on Thursday, April 3. The band is no stranger to our city, and once again put on an excellent show, bringing with them two great supporting acts, Murs and legendary reggae group Inner Circle.
The first act to go on was unknown to me, a rapper by the name of Murs, whose real name is Nicholas Carter, and his accompanying DJ. As the LA-based rapper began his set, the crowd continued to pile into the theatre, already filling up several of the front rows. It wasn’t until Murs removed his black hoodie, exposing the Jaguars shirt he was wearing underneath, that the crowd really began vibing to the smooth, west coast rap Murs was spitting. “You see this is the old logo,” Murs said to the cheering crowd. “That’s how you know I’ve been a long-time fan.”
Murs continued his set, which consisted of an impromptu dance-off with his DJ (Murs won) and a shout out to local restaurant Chomp Chomp, before the second act, Inner Circle took the stage to a now packed Florida Theatre.
Legendary for their songs “Bad Boy” (you know, the theme to Cops) and “Sweat” (A La La Long), Inner Circle performed a high-intensity set that got everyone on their feet. Jamaican reggae group Inner Circle has been around for a long time, first forming way back in the 1960s, and achieving massive success by the late 70s. It goes without saying, Inner Circle is a must-see group for any reggae lover. When the band’s lead singer removed his jacket during the set, he revealed a shirt with a map of the U.S., which featured each state that had recently legalized marijuana highlighted in green. “So I heard America’s going green!” he shouted, as the crowd cheered. Soon after, the theatre began to fill with smoke.
Now the concert was in full swing. Inner Circle even did a decent cover of Wiz Khalifa’s “Young Wild and Free.”
SOJA took the stage next, but not before Inner Circle had finished their amazing set, which was my personal favorite of the night. The Florida Theatre, now covered in a slight haze, was ready for the main act to begin. SOJA’s set consisted of some new material, some old, but hit nearly all of their most well-known songs, including hits such as “I Don’t Wanna Wait, “Here I Am,” and of course the crowd favorite, “Rest of My Life.” Unlike the other two acts, SOJA did not reveal a super-cool t-shirt hidden beneath a jacket. Regardless, their set was yet another triumphant return to Duval, and I’m sure it won’t be the band’s last.