Hailing from San Jose, CA Monkey is the hardest working Ska band on the West Coast! This SquidHat Records band has won a California Music Award, and has been performing their high energy version of Ska, Rock and Reggae around the globe since 1996! Monkey has toured The U.S., Canada, The United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Holland, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Slovenia and Switzerland.
THE TITAN UPS
San Francisco’s premier rocksteady outfit, the Titan Ups, have been filling dance floors across the Bay Area since 2008. Featuring former and current members of such notable groups as Oranger, Kelley Stoltz, overwhelming Colorfast, Skankin’ Pickle, Ride the Blinds and more, the Titan Ups play mix of classic rocksteady and early reggae as well as “true to form” original compositions. Boasting up to 12 members,the Titan Ups have opened and/or backed up Jamaican rocksteady legends such as Pat Kelly, Ken Parker, the Jamaicans and 2 Tone legends the English Beat.
LA NOCHE OSKURA
La Noche Oskura or “The Dark Night” was created in the summer of 2008 in Sacramento, CA. They began playing the sounds of Ska, Reggae, and Rock in a hot garage, which would always have to change locations due to the POPO and noise complaints. Since 2008, LNO has been coming out the City Of Trees with a new sound, a new movement and new hope. La Noche Oskura can represent the long dark night which one struggles in the desert to pursue the “American Dream” for a better life or it can simply represent a new beginning or the night before the better day. Our music is inspired by love, struggles one faces everyday and movements of resistance from all over the world that call for justice and peace.
Chris Murray is a unique force on today’s music scene. He earned a strong reputation as a dynamic performer and gifted songwriter armed only with an acoustic guitar. Life has led Chris down a musical path to the very roots of reggae music. From trading songs on acoustic guitar and singing, to jamming and recording, Chris has served his apprenticeship with the finest musicians associated with the genre. He has collaborated with countless talented musicians from around the globe, and his journeys have taken him throughout the world being inspired and inspiring people’s lives.
BURNT music is a psychedelic and soulful blend of reggae, ska, punk and hip-hop sounds. Inspired by DIY artist subculture, this San Francisco based band has independently produced 10 albums of original music. Originally formed in 2003, BURNT continues to tour extensively on the west coast of the U.S. and Canada. Their sound weaves heady lyrics, raw melodies and steady rhythms into a distinct and vibrant sound.
Nomalakadoja’s feel good music is a blend of reggae, rock, and island styles. Their positive lyrics and upbeat rhythms are sure to bring smiles and dancing feet. Nomalakadoja is a three-piece band made up of lead singer and drummer Spencer Vantress, guitarist and vocalist Alex Walther, and bassist Zack Thorensen. Based out of Santa Cruz, CA, the band’s mission is to bring people together in peace, love and unity to grow as a community.
DJ SEP (DUBMISSION)
Sep is the founder, promoter, and main resident at Dub Mission. For 22 years, Sep was also on Bay Area radio: first on the highly-influential college station, KUSF and later at Berkeley’s public radio station, KPFA. Sep is the co-compiler of Babylon Is Ours: The USA in Dub, a collection of all-exclusive American dub tracks (on Select Cuts) and co-producer (with Jason Short) of “Get Your Dub Wet” remixes (Daly City Records). Sep has won a Goldie Award (Bay Guardian) and been nominated for Best DJ (SF Weekly Music Awards). She has spun in London, Vancouver, Tijuana, New York, Washington DC, Miami, Portland, Seattle, and Los Angeles and has opened for the likes of Sly & Robbie, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Mad Professor, The Wailers, Culture, Big Youth, Les Nubians, Rachid Taha, Kinky, and many others.
DJ Larry HEAVYWEIGHT SOUND Hacken
DJ Larry Hacken, also known by the moniker of his beloved KZYZ radio program “Heavyweight Sound,” has built a reputation as an accomplished reggae deejay and radio host over the past 20-plus years. He has over three decades of experience collecting Jamaican music and has a reputation for his knowledge of reggae rarities and obscure artists.
As a young music listener in the 1970s, he first heard reggae singers like Desmond Dekker and Dave and Ansel Collins, but wasn’t aware of their Jamaican heritage. While as student at Sonoma State in 1977, it was the sound of Bob Marley that drew him to the music that would become a lifelong passion. He saw the reggae icon perform live in Oakland in 1980 and saw Peter Tosh at the Sonoma State Commons the following year.
While reggae gained a foothold in the US through an unlikely relationship with the vibrant punk scene that had nurtured it in England, Larry was involved in promoting concerts at his school and specifically brought Dead Kennedys to Sonoma State (for a show in a dormitory dining room!) Take that, Dean!
With reggae exploding on the West Coast and the Bay Area at the heart of the action, Larry made it his goal to see every reggae show possible in the early 80s, and nearly every major touring reggae act had made it to San Francisco by 1985.
An accomplished artist, Hacken pursued an MFA in sculpture and painting from the San Francisco Art Institute, graduating in 1987. He made a living selling his work in California and Oregon for several years and was reviewed favorably by critics including Kenneth Baker at the San Francisco Chronicle. Hacken moved to Mendocino in 1994 and taught metal sculpture at the Mendocino Art Center.
His real passion, collecting and playing reggae vinyl recordings, caught its stride when he started on the air at KZYZ in 1996, where he has been a fixture ever since. He also hosted a program on the commercial station KMFB from 2009 to 2012.
Along the way, Hacken has made trips abroad, travelling extensively to Europe, Asia, and Australia, and of course, to Jamaica, but Hacken enjoys living in Mendocino, which alleviates some of the need to travel to Jamaica. Every year, Jamaica travels to Boonville, which has become the home of one of the major annual events on the global reggae calendar, the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival. Hacken gets to host his musical idols in person and has been a festival deejay every year, while conducting artist interviews for the radio station and hosting an annual post-festival program with many artists in the studio.
Hacken has made friends and formed close associations in the world of Jamaican music, bringing artists to Mendocino County, including the late Mikey Dread Campbell, who even named a song in honor of Hacken’s worldly interests.
Most recently, Hacken has been hosting a bi-monthly party at Dick’s Place in Mendocino California.
Written by: Carter Van Pelt – Reggae Journalist, Promoter, DJ & Radio Host of “Easter Standard Time” WKCR-FM (New York, NY)