In the song “Trench Town Rock,” Bob Marley & the Wailers proclaim that “one good thing about music, when it hits, you feel no pain.” The Harbor Boys, a newly formed band based in Pasadena, hope to validate that message as they write tunes that are upbeat, catchy and relatable.
“We want fans to come to our shows and forget about the negatives in life,” said Cody Woolsoncroft, who handles vocals and rhythm guitar.
Woolsoncroft said that goal is a constant for the band members — Ross Foca on lead guitar and saxophone, Alan Haley on bass, Ben Thompson on drums and percussion, Nick Bader on auxiliary and hand percussion, and Woolsoncroft — whether they’re putting a new spin on a popular song or performing an original like “Dive Bar,” “Make It Better” or “Care Free.”
As Woolsoncroft explained, “‘Care Free’ is a song about forgetting about life for a while and just living life carefree and a carefree state of mind with no stress, with lyrics stating, ‘Give all your troubles, another day, sit back relax and float away.’”
The Harbor Boys are influenced by Sublime, Rebelution, 311, Bob Marley and Iration. “All of these bands formed a big part of helping us know what we want our sound to direct to,” Foca said. “Each of these bands uses the positive good-vibe message, and that is what made each of them who they are today.”
Just like their influences, members of The Harbor Boys exhibit diversity in their sound. “Our style is based on reggae/ska, but we have roots in hip-hop, metal, jazz and classic rock, amongst other genre influences,” Haley said.
The band got their start with a performance at The Office Bar & Grill, opening for Bond & Bentley during a Halloween costume party on October 28.
“It’s always fun to play a hometown show inside of the town we are mainly from, as we see familiar faces,” Thompson said. “We had a great reaction from people who never saw us play before. People were moving and dancing along to us. When we did some of the more popular covers, people were singing along to them with us, which is always a great feeling!”
They followed that show with two Baltimore performances: the Ottobar in November and Reverb in December. Next up is the Frozen Harbor Music Festival, at which Woolsoncroft performed as an acoustic artist in 2017. Set for February 16 and 17, the festival includes 160 acts, which are spread across 10 venues located at Baltimore Soundstage.
The Harbor Boys’ set is tentatively scheduled for February 16 at Luckie’s Tavern.
“This festival is put together by One Koast Entertainment, and they do an amazing job doing so,” Woolsoncroft said. “This is a huge showcase of local bands and musicians from all over. This festival will have other local greats including Joey Harkum from the Pasadena band, Bumpin Uglies, and even national names such as George Clinton. We are already preparing a set for this as it is a huge deal for our band to get this opportunity. We want to get as many fans to come out, and [we] hope to gain even more after playing this event.”
Although they are relatively new to the music scene as a band, The Harbor Boys have big plans for their music and their positive message.
“We are currently starting to produce some songs in the studio to give people a slight hint of what Harbor Boys has to offer,” Thompson said. “We are looking forward to more show opportunities and excited to gain a bigger fan base to continue to grow our Harbor Boys family.”