Now five years into their lifespan, Blackwood Kings has proven to be one of the more unique bands to pop up in the Victoria BC scene. In spirit and ethos, they’re a punk band, but while contemporaries may lean towards buzz-saw-distorted guitars and shouted vocals, Blackwood Kings favour the reverb-laden upstrokes of ska and dub, producing a politically and emotionally charged brand of reggae fusion that is uniquely their own. And while the foundation of Blackwood Kings sound is comprised of the aforementioned Jamaican genres, no musical idea is off limits, with songs frequently travelling into disparate realms such as math rock, fusion, and jungle.
Blackwood Kings released their second EP in the fourth quarter of 2015. While short in length, the four-track release showcases the diversity of the group's sound. Lead single "Into The Blue" (features frantic jungle drumming and skankin' guitars doused in reverb and delay. "Paralysis" takes the listener on a journey through angular stops and psychedelic bass-heavy dub, while "Idle Nature" sees the band explore their ska roots with bouncing upstrokes. "Upholding lies that blind us from the dirty minds that bind us/ Contending ideologies contain and then divide us" pines frontman Chris Zielonka on "Break Away", an earth-shaking dub track that morphs into a Latin-tinged sax-and-trombone conversation.
Blackwood Kings' varied and malleable style has allowed them to share the stage with notable acts such as Authority Zero, J-Boog, The Slackers, The Mad Caddies, The Skints, Gondwana, and Third World. The group has appeared at festivals such as Rifflandia, Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest and Fernfest, while also lending their performances to social and political events such as the University of Victoria "Earth Fest" with speakers such as the Green Party's Elizabeth May, and a fundraiser for building a hospital in Sierra Leone alongside acclaimed reggae/highlife group Sierra Leone's Refugee All-Stars.
@ Ship Point (Inner Harbour)
Wed. June 21st 16:00 - 22:00
Victoria's 24th Annual Ska & Reggae Festival is kicking off with a bang – a free Inner Harbour show jam-packed end-to-end with ska and reggae goodness. Headlining our kickoff show is one of modern reggae's most prolific performers, coming to Victoria for the first time, PERFECT GIDDIMANI. Since his first single “Hand Cart Bwoy” landed in 2004, Perfect was recognized as one of reggae music's most dynamic vocalists. Since his debut album “Giddimani” in 2006, he has been absolutely relentless creating and releasing a seemingly endless stream of high-quality reggae music. His incredible voice, immense talents and tireless work ethic have brought him a Billboard-topping single and charting album, “Live My Life Again.” Giddimani's conscious, spiritual, powerful reggae music is helping bring the music forward while staying true to the roots of the culture.
Storming out of Bogata, Colombia, LA REAL DEL SONIDO has built their reputation as one of the city's hardest hitting bands – fusing their Latin rhythms with hard-hitting rock and hip-hop. Their unpredictable, high-energy stage show has made them one of the most exciting bands in the fertile Colombia scene. It may have taken longer than we'd like, but we are beyond thrilled to welcome La Real Del Sonido to Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest for the first time. Also on the bill, making their festival debut is Brooklyn's unreasonably fun ska outfit STOP THE PRESSES. The band delivers an incredible mix of traditional ska & reggae with pop hooks – new wave style and punk rock attitude with a splash of British 2-Tone. Last year saw them hit new heights with the release of their stellar second full-length album, “Got It.” Kicking things off as the first band to take the stage for jam-packed year are our dear friends, and one of the most unique reggae bands to ever come out of Vancouver Island. With over a decade under their belts, Blackwood Kings have honed their blend of reggae, dub, punk and prog rock like an elegant weapon, but only using that weapon for the good of delighting audiences wherever they may be. Our friend and ally JUDAH ROOTS will be holding it down before and between sets. One of the true protectors of culture on the west coast, Judah Roots has one of the best, most knowledgeable ears behind the decks and you can be sure he'll be laying down the sweet riddims.