Big Mountain

Much like UB40, American reggae band Big Mountain brought a very commercialized version of Jamaican music to the American mainstream when their cover of Peter Frampton's "Baby, I Love Your Way" reached the Top Ten in early 1994. To the band's credit, though, its three albums contain reggae roots music combined with only several R&B-ish covers, and the lineup includes two Jamaicans with excellent credentials: rhythm guitarist Tony Chin and drummer Santa Davis -- both of whom played with Peter Tosh's band and the Soul Syndicate.

Big Mountain were originally formed in San Diego as the Rainbow Warriors. After several years of dizzying lineup changes and two name changes -- first to Shiloh and finally to Big Mountain -- the group settled around vocalist/guitarist Quino, with rhythm guitarist Jerome Cruz, drummers Gregory Blakney and Lance Rhodes, keyboard player Manfred Reinke, and bassist Lynn Copeland. That lineup released Wake Up on the Quality label in 1992 and charted "Touch My Light" early the following year. The single reached number 51 in America, but only one year later Big Mountain began to experiment with several different guitarists. After several changes, Tony Chin became available and joined Quino and Copeland with new additions Santa Davis, James McWhinney (percussion), and keyboard players Billy Stoll and Michael Hyde. During sessions for their second album, movie producer Ron Fair approached Big Mountain about recording a cover of "Baby, I Love Your Way" for his upcoming movie Reality Bites. Included on the soundtrack and the group's 1994 Unity album, the single reached number six in the U.S. and became a worldwide hit.

Despite Big Mountain's success on the commercial pop charts, most of the reggae community remained faithful to the band; the group headlined two consecutive Reggae Sunsplash festivals in Jamaica during massive world tours that crisscrossed Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Indonesia. Third album Resistance was released in 1995, followed two years later by Free Up.

- John Bush


GONDWANA , Big Mountain, Batuque Axe! , DJ Su Comandante Espinoza
at Ship Point (Inner Harbour)
Fri. June 21st 4:20 PM
$39.95 - $49.95 advance Ticket Info
Friday night at our 25th Anniversary is a big celebration of the global power of reggae. One of South America’s biggest reggae bands, the legendary GONDWANA returns to Victoria and takes our festival stage for the very first time! Named for a time when all continents were one, Gondwana represents the global unity and power of reggae music like few bands can. For over 35 years, Gondwana has been one of the most consistent and engaging reggae bands, building their empire without the backing of major labels, or big-time producers. They keep things in the family, preferring to work together to forge their own path. Their passion for honest, real reggae music has developed them a rabidly devout fanbase that has brought them all around the globe and back again. The last time they were in Victoria was a night that stuck with us for a long time and now, with the sun setting behind them on at Ship Point, Gondwana is going to bring a truly unforgettable reggae experience.

Joining us at Ship Point for our Friday night reggae party is one of the biggest bands to ever come out of reggae-fertile California, BIG MOUNTAIN. Best known for their incredible cover of Peter Frampton’s “Baby, I Love Your Way,” Big Mountain has amassed a remarkably consistent catalogue of fantastic reggae music over their more than three decades in music. Their careful dedication to the craft of reggae has made them a favourite of both reggae diehards and casual fans alike. Their sticky-sweet reggae drips down your ears and gives you that warm, comforting feeling of summer deep inside your soul. Taking the stage first and warming up the proceedings is Victoria’s blistering 12-piece BATUQUE AXÉ, who will be lighting things up with their high energy driving Brazilian rhythms and beautiful melodies. Our longtime ally DJ Su Comandante Espinoza will be behind the 1s-and-2s, getting feet moving and keeping them going between sets.