No one was more taken aback at the outcome of this year’s ICRT Battle of the Bands than the winners themselves: “We were really surprised because we had technical difficulties, our gear broke on stage …” said Moshe Foster, lead singer for reggae band High Tide, which plays tomorrow night at VU Livehouse in Ximending.
“Shit had a whack attack!” added trombone player Andy Francis. “Despite that, we engaged the crowd, we had little kids up and dancing,” said Bassist Mike Tennant.
Since the win they’ve been getting airtime at ICRT; this week they are being played three times a day.
“Look at ICRT’s playlist,” said Foster. “What are the chances of ever hearing music like that if we hadn’t won? We thought we were the underdogs, it’s not what the programmers are telling us people want to hear.”
DJ Saucey will be joining them tomorrow for the early show at VU, playing between the sets and also doing live dub with the band, adding delays and effects to the percussion. Guest artist Richie Partridge, formerly of Massive Attack, will be jamming with them on percussion as well.
Also playing is Blood Orange, an instrumental band that is garnering a small but devoted following. “The basis of the music is punk,” said trumpet player Charles McHale, with elements of experimental 1960s jazz and bossanova interludes. “There’s a lot of hard, fast changes and jumps. Without a vocalist it allows the music to shift more quickly,” said McHale.
High Tide plays a more modern version of reggae: “Instead of playing traditional roots reggae beat, the one-drop, we might do a 4/4 beat, something you hear more in dance music,” said Foster. “[We] can go from a dub beat to a dance beat and all the instruments sequentially converge on a melody and a counter-melody. We’ll do that for 15 seconds and dump it all back into a slow dub beat.”
What: High Tide with special guests Blood Orange and DJ Saucey
When: Tomorrow from 8pm
Where: VU Livehouse, B1, 77, Wuchang St Sec 2, Taipei City (台北市武昌街二段77號B1). Call (02) 2314-1868 for more information
Tickets: NT$350 includes one drink and entrance to the Inner City Life Dub party, which follows at 11pm with DJs Mixter T, Coffeepot, Soul Basic and Juni
Tennant credits Hide Tide’s unique sound to their experience playing in other bands: “We all have other influences so we bring that in, we want to play it with our own personalities and styles. There’s a conservative mindset about what a reggae band should look and sound like. We’re just guys who like reggae and love to play it.”
“We don’t have dreadlocks, we’re not Rastafarians,” Foster said. “Reggae is the old rebel music, playing for the underdog, for the things you believe in, truth. It’s not a corporate mainstream right-wing thing, but the idea that truth will outlive these systems of control.”