Full disclosure – I'm highly involved with the Victoria Ska & Reggae Society and Festival. The people who are part of it, who help put it on, have become like an extended family. I don't see them all the time but when we do it's always lovely and once a year we all get together downtown and throw a big party for the city. As such, I'm around this stuff so much, around the band and artist bios constantly for months on months. Their music becomes the soundtrack to so much of my working day. I know this lineup inside and out. But favourites always crop up. This is just a list of the first five that came to my head. I'm writing this intro after the body of the article was written and I regret not being able to put Kingston Rudieska on this list. That's going to be really special. Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad is going to be wild, I mean as “wild” as a roots reggae show can get, I suppose. Anyways, if you like the idea of concerts as places for people from different communities and age groups and such, to gather and dance off the Weight of Life together, then you should probably come to Victoria and dance in a couple of weeks.
Wednesday, June 20 – Lucky Bar w/ Bousada (Full band)
Each and every year, without fail, Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest leaves me with at least one artist that sticks with me, that I know I'm going to be a fan of for a long time. Last year that artist was Yellowsky. A captivating performer, Yellowsky is one of the finest examples of the hip-hop and reggae coming together I've heard in years. Of Plains Cree First Nation and South American bloodlines, Yellowsky is coming at this with a completely unique perspective. Since opening for the mighty Mike Love at last years festival, Yellowsky released his debut album Mixed Medicine. The album is probably the best melding of gritty hip-hop and that good street reggae that I've encountered this side of Jamrock. This is saying a lot. But this dude is legit. Inside the brick embrace of Lucky Bar, this is going to be a helluva set from Da Lion. (I'd also like to put this wish out into the world: Yellowsky rapping over some beats from Bousada and his band late in the evening. Fingers crossed, friends!)Read More