Soul Rebel Homecoming
Words and Photography by rayneutron
John Givez loves Oceanside and the feeling is mutual.
In true victory lap fashion, the eighteen city Soul Rebel tour is concluding in John’s beloved hometown. As seagulls fly overhead, waves crash in the near distance and locals swarm the stage, I can’t help but think of his prophetic lyrics from “Sandman” that layout the electric scene I’m struggling to describe. “The gangsta gangstas sayin’ I’m the one that can make the city come to the amphitheater right on the water, rebelution starter.” He saw this coming.
“Thou shalt love thy homies”
When it comes to John Givez, what cannot be stressed enough is the importance he places on those present before the buzz. “Thou shalt love thy homies” is what he preaches and seeks to live accordingly. Midway through his set, he invites the aforementioned gangstas upon the stage for “Side of the Ocean,” not before jokingly warning them not to throw up any signs of affiliation at the all ages show. The already high energy performance got a boost here as the homies parade the stage serenading their city of origin, while holding children, taking group selfies or both.
Keeping the momentum, Ruslan and Beleaf Melanin join John for the Dream Junkies portion of the show, trading verses on fan favorites like “InJoy,” “Packing Light” and “Oceans.” All three of these men have the vertical leap of Allen Iverson (before the elbow sleeve) and the kind of energy only exerted at 4th grade recess. Showmen may not be the word.
“What do the greats do? They rest.”
The show ends and John takes a stroll backstage to wipe his drenched face with a towel and have 30 seconds of uninterrupted silence. I follow from afar and let him be— snapping photos at a safe distance with my camera set to “silent shutter.” That silence is broken when a 30-something brown skinned gentleman calls for him from a waist-high window backstage. Holding his daughter, he reaches for John’s hand and asks him, “What do Steph Curry and Lebron James do after playoff games? What do the greats do? They rest,” he exclaims—answering his own question. “They ice up and rest. You’re on that level of greatness but you still need to rest.” John nods in agreement.