The Virginia Street Brewhouse has been bringing many upcoming and deserving local artists to their stage for quite a while. I recently stopped in to check out False Rhythms, a local reggae band out of Gardnerville. In the last year plus, they have been making their mark in northern Nevada.
Historically I’ve had mixed feelings about reggae. There’s plenty to really like, but there’s also that style that just puts me to sleep. But there will be no sleeping when listening to False Rhythms. Maybe some dreaming, but definitely no sleeping.
False Rhythms was first put together by brothers Garrett and Dalton Moore in 2012. Austin Hawkins came on board in 2017 on bass guitar, and Robbie Wheeler replaced their original drummer in 2018. Keyboardist Chris Shott finished off the lineup when he joined just before COVID hit in early 2020. The original name of the band was Obviously Confused, which indicates to me that these guys have a good sense of humor.
This is a reggae band with plenty of energy. Not being familiar with all the sub-genres of reggae, I would be hesitant to label it. My observation is that they have a lot of energy in many of their songs that borders on rock and roll. They also offer up a rhythmic dreamy trance-like sound that’s a little more like what I’ve heard before (but not the sleepy stuff).
Lead guitarist Garrett Moore has a sound and style that is reminiscent of Jerry Garcia at times. Dalton Moore keeps the reggae groove rolling along with the classic syncopated rhythms on rhythm guitar and he has a great singing voice for this kind of music.
What would reggae be without a tight rhythm section? Hawkins (bass) and Wheeler (drums) supply that by building a solid foundation for everything to ride on. Hawkins is passionately animated in his playing style, as you can readily see in the photo gallery. Shott’s keyboard playing fills it all in and adds color and depth to their arrangements.
As with any new band, it takes a while to get the ball rolling. I spoke with Hawkins about their progress over the years. He said that they spent many nights playing at house parties and local bars, but over the last couple of years the gigs have been getting much better. Plus, they’ve been building a great following.
“It’s kind of neat getting recognized in Walmart!” – Austin Hawkins
He also shared what he called “a story of redemption” that the band experienced. Last year when False Rhythms played the Mountain Vibe Music Festival they didn’t have such a good set and were very unhappy with themselves. This year’s show was different. They were part of a showcase with 20 other bands and played a great set that was well received. It was a very redeeming moment for the band, Hawkins said, and meant a lot to them.
False Rhythms writes everything they play. Having recently opened for such well known, nationally touring reggae artists as Afroman, The Green, and Eli Mac (America’s Got Talent), they feel that they are on the right track.
Coming up very soon is a show at Cypress in Reno on July 15, and then they will be at an Arts Festival in Tahoe Paradise Park in Meyers on Aug. 19.
“Don’t worry about a thing, every little thing is gonna be alright.” – Bob Marley
Nick McCabe is a Reno-based photojournalist and musician. He’s been shooting concerts in the Reno-Tahoe area since 2006 and writing articles and reviews since 2012, as well as doing interviews on occasion. His musical education and playing experience goes back to 1967. He is a founding member of the Reno Tahoe Forte’ Awards, and he still plays music locally for enjoyment. First concert: Jimi Hendrix. Last concert: we’ll see.