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Josh Henrichs at The Observatory OC | Top Shelf Reggae

One February 24th, Josh Heinrichs headlined a sold-out show in the Constellation Room at The Observatory OC in Santa Ana, California. Josh was supported by opening bands White Glove Service and The Steppas, both of which got the packed crowd going and ready for Josh to take the stage. This was my first time seeing The Steppas, and I must say, I’m really looking forward to the next time! Then, Josh came on and brought energy and good vibes to the wall-to-wall packed crowd. I loved hearing all the people singing along to every song, dancing shoulder-to-shoulder and having a general great time! 

Photography by Sean McCracken

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/gallery/josh-henrichs-at-the-observatory-oc

WORLD VIDEO PREMIERE: Black Bird Hum “Down” | Top Shelf Reggae

Australian reggae band Black Bird Hum displays their societal views prominently in this world music video premiere for their latest single “Down” off Rebel Sound Records. In a world full of poverty, pollution and intolerance, Bird Bird Hum takes a stand, saying “all this fighting” is bringing them, well, down. Don't be a buzzkill. Life provides a natural high if you allow it, leaving no room for negativity, hatred, bigotry or greed. Don't let politicians dictate the way you're supposed to live. Don't stand for anything that doesn't vibe with you. It's time that citizens around the globe rise up from being repressed, from being rendered politically voiceless. We can make a difference. Now to just stop feeling so down about it all…

Bird Bird Hum takes a stand, saying “all this fighting” is bringing them, well, down.

Juxtaposing imagery of a shouting military Sergeant to an upright baboon is just one example of how the video for “Down” amplifies the track's message from merely a thought to a true call to action. Choose peace over violence and use common sense to fix this mess we've made. Whether you want to be an activist against immigration policies, war, racism, sexism… whatever is killing your buzz, let's tell it to buzz off. Overlaying black and white with color animation, Black Bird Hum metaphorically implies it's better to look on the bright side of life. Plus, all the trippy transitions prompts your mind to relax after thinking about all the stuff bogging you down. Is Black Bird Hum against everything? Probably not. But, when it seems the whole world needs a fix, what else is there to do but meditate and medicate? 

Band links: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/video/world-video-premiere-black-bird-hum-down

Rototom 2018 announces second-wave artists | Top Shelf Reggae

Europe's most renowned reggae roots party Rototom Sunsplash is gearing up for 2018, with second-wave artists joining an already all star lineup. Situated beside the Mediterranean Sea, Rototom stretches seven days of pure reggae enjoyment on the sandy shores of Benicassim (Castellon, Spain). Ibiza might stand as the official party island of Spain, but an island getaway hardly compares to what goes down on the mainland every year mid-August. 2018, in particular, marks the 25th Annual Rototom Sunsplash celebration, meaning this reggae fiesta will be beyond legendary – it's a silver jubilee, after all! Mark your calendars and pack your bags: the best fest in the history of Rototom is happening August 16th-22nd.

Rototom stretches seven days of pure reggae enjoyment…

Last month, Rototom revealed the initial artists to lead the lineup and boy, these artists alone can be convincing enough. Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, Alborosie, Fat Freddy's Drop, Jimmy Cliff, Protoje (& the Indiggnation), Tarrus Riley featuring Dean Fraser & Black Soil Band, Green Valley, Morodo, Auxili, Danakil, Alpheus & the Mighty Megatons, Hollie Cook and The Uppertones… that's just the first announcement! With such a diverse assortment of backgrounds, countries and sound encompassed in that list, it's clear to see that Rototom is truly all-inclusive when it comes to reggae representation. Speaking of diversification, Rototom's second announcement has even more eclecticism when it comes to artist location and classification. Namely, dancehall. Subgenre bellwethers Cocoa Tea, Yellowman and Johnny Osbourne is set to get the dancehall grooving this August, as well as the decorated production duo Sly and Robbie (responsible for such megahits from Shaggy, Bob Dylan and more). Another Jamaican artist, “the lyrical millionaire” Skarra Mucci, joins the bunch although backed by French band Dub Akom. And, did we mention a Marley? That's right! Rototom 25 welcomes Julian Marley to the stage to perform for the first time in Benicassim.

What a rootsy reggae party, indeed. If that's not enough dancehall for you, two Germany bands Pow Pow Movement and Jugglerz will give you your fix, and the dubby sounds of the UK's General Roots will add a touch of modern roots to the mix. Not into that modern sound? Kick it old school with Spain's Roberto Sanchez, rocking that classic roots vibe on Day One. Into everything? Mo'kalamity from France has a smoky chanteuse to set the mood right and the harmonious Mighty Diamonds are coming back to Benicassim in 2018. Last, but not least, what's reggae without some ska? Ska stands as the debut hit genre out of Jamaica, so Rototom would be remiss without its integral inclusion. Ladies and gents, hold on to your fedoras, because The Skatalites are set to perform with Derrick Morgan, Doreen Shaffer and Vin Gordon on horn. What a skanking time to have by all!

Tickets for Rototom 25 are now available and this festival, again, offers so much more than just music. Want to experience it all without a large seven-day hotel bill? Opt for camping, with several choices to choose from for the entire family. Speaking of family, do not hesitate to bring the kids, for Rototom is for all ages. For more information and to get your tickets now, visit www.rototomsunsplash.com.

Rototom Days video:

Links: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/news/rototom-2018-announces-second-wave-artists

Ben Barbic debuts “On My Mind” single | Top Shelf Reggae

Reggae solo artist Ben Barbic is back with his latest hip hoppy love ballad “On My Mind” off Rebel Sound Records. This is the first single for Barbic fans to enjoy since his full-length album The Takeoff took to the airwaves last November (following an EP release in June). Ben Barbic is certainly pumping out the jams these days! Bursting onto the solo scene in 2013 after playing percussion and being a vocalist for a handful of other bands, Barbic hit it big with his premiere single “Rat Race” – even having the track featured in a television series! Fast forward six years and this standout artist out of San Jose, California has three album releases under his belt: two within the past year and all showcasing his eclectic musical capabilities.

…only Barbic can deliver such profound messages of love in such gangster fashion.

The track “On My Mind” highlights Barbic's hip hop side (versus his signature reggae sound), with an auto-tuned hook and quick lyrical delivery. Apparently, Barbic is currently flying high on “Cloud 9” for a woman, feeling stronger than he ever has before. With “diamonds on her finger”, it seems Barbic isn't messing around either when he says, “she's always on my mind”. Although the timbre is a dark one, the track itself is sweet, standing as a pledge of commitment to the woman Barbic wants to spend the rest of his life with. Pop open a bottle of wine; let's celebrate the fact that we found each other in this crazy world! Rapping fast in between choruses, only Barbic can deliver such profound messages of love in such gangster fashion.

The single joins the rest of Barbic's music on all digital outlets, with many more singles rumored to follow in 2018. It is unclear at this time if this track precludes another album release and/or subsequent tour. Barbic fans will just have to hold tight for the next release. For more information, visit www.rebel-sound.com.

Purchase or stream “On My Mind” single:

Links: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/reviews/ben-barbic-debuts-on-my-mind-single

3rd Annual Dry Diggings Festival takes shape | Top Shelf Reggae

From the festival founders of California Roots, Northern California's premiere reggae-rock-hip hop festival, comes Dry Diggings: a Labor Day fest in Placerville, CA to partner with Cali Roots' Memorial Day in Monterey. After two successful years in NorCal, the 3rd Annual Dry Diggings Festival (August 31st – September 2nd 2018) has finally taken shape with first-round artists you simply can't miss.

Although a short list, Dry Diggings 3 is ready to rumble

Before we dive into the lineup, let's talk about what sets Dry Diggings apart from other fall fests. First off, it's reggae in the hilly refuge of Placerville, a quaint little spot due east of Sacramento. Second, Dry Diggings goes beyond music and art. A skateboarding competition took place last year within the festival grounds and, chances are, that same skate showdown is about to happen again! Mimosa mornings and beer tastings are scheduled throughout the weekend, featuring beer and spirits from local brewers. (Hey, no judgement on the morning libations – it's a holiday weekend, after all!) Top it all off with all ages fun, onsite camping, the best reggae music in the business, cornhole tournaments, beer pong tournaments, live art, vendor villages, craft beer, organic food and cannabis knowledge zones… well, you've got yourself one hell of a weekend.

Although a short list, Dry Diggings 3 is ready to rumble, proclaiming Rebelution headliner number one! Seems fitting, as Rebelution remains veteran headliners for Cali Roots year-over-year. At this point, what would a festival be without Rebelution attached to the bill? Also to make it on the first-round announcement are two more GRAMMY-nominees J Boog and Common Kings. Woah, Dry Diggings – three GRAMMY nods in one announcement? That's pretty noteworthy in itself. Now that Dry Diggings has reggae rock, island reggae and reggae-hip hop on the ballad, the EDM-reggae-rock-fusion of The Movement rounds out the equation and completes the 3rd Annual lineup… for the time being. Even though four bands hardly comes close to the full three-day rundown, you have to admit that Dry Diggings is off to an epic start.

Excited? We don't blame you. Luckily, tickets go on sale as of tomorrow March 16th at 10am, with three-day general admission and VIP packages to choose from. Stay tuned for more to be revealed, but if you are already in it to win it, might as well jump on the best bargain of early bird ticket deals while they last. Don't forget to purchase camping separately! For more information, visit www.drydiggingsfestival.com.

Links: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/news/3rd-annual-dry-diggings-festival-takes-shape

WORLD VIDEO PREMIERE: M.D. & The Healers “Insane” | Top Shelf Reggae

New York-based reggae fusion band M.D. & The Healers are prescribing some political commentary in this world video premiere of “Insane”. The track is featured on the band's Welcome to Babylon EP that was released off Rebel Sound Records September 2017. Now, with America's governmental and economic issues clogging our airwaves, the band thought it was dire time to release a video that might trigger some repressed anxiety in the form of action.

M.D. & The Healers pose the question everyone's been thinking: “has the world gone insane or is it me”?

As a nation, we've grown accustomed to feeling numb, complacent, an ignorance-is-bliss mentality, for not knowing is easier on the nerves. Are we losing our mind or is what we're seeing in the news not madness at all, but all part of a bigger picture? M.D. & The Healers pose the question everyone's been thinking: “has the world gone insane or is it me”? With distorted jump cuts and film static effects, the video for “Insane” brings to life the confusing energy all of us have been holding inside for so long. M.D. & the Healers say it's time for a remedy, “time to wake up”. Luckily, as doctors, they can diagnose and treat accordingly.

Band links: Facebook

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/video/world-video-premiere-m.d.-the-healers-insane

White Glove Service at I & I Brewing | Top Shelf Reggae

On February 23rd, there was a fun show at I & I Brewing. Show openers Eye in I, were quick to bring smiles, get the crowd moving and get ready for the headliner. White Glove Service headlined the party with the high energy that their fans have gotten used to. It was a unique night because fans got to see that band without their typical tuxedos! They had everyone dancing and at the end of the night, the band brought Mason from Eye in I and Tiki Tyler (of Tiki Killers) up with them to close out the night.

Photography by Sean McCracken

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/gallery/white-glove-service-at-i-i-brewing

Boomshaka Festival 2018 | Top Shelf Reggae

To say that the first annual Boomshaka Festival in San Diego, California was a success would be a massive understatement. Despite landing on a Monday holiday, this President's Day fest packed Valley View Casino Center with wall to wall attendees ready for a roots party to remember. Hosted by 94.9 radio personality DJ Carlos Culture, Boomshaka 2018 kicked off mid-afternoon with reggae-rock band on the rise Aloha Radio followed by rootsy reggae band The Expanders. San Diegan band HIRIE was up next, delivering a solid performance to their hometown fans. The Original Wailers took the stage next, getting the crowd singing along easily to classic Bob jams. Uncle Don Carlos took the stage to uproarious applause and was shortly joined with Ocean Beach native and Slightly Stoopid frontman Kyle McDonald. As live artist Jimmy Ovadia splashed and splattered paint onto the canvas, the crowd danced along with Don Carlos' signature dance moves. Headliners Tribal Seeds and Stick Figure closed down the night, with the native Tribal Seeds boys up first. It was their roots party, after all! Stick got the people going (as they always do), high-fiving the audience within reach and playing alongside their trusty tour dog, Cocoa. Boomshaka attendees got a special treat as other Stoopid frontman Myles Doughty joined Kyle this time to jump onstage for a quick Stick and Stoopid collaboration! After what seemed like no time at all, Boomshaka 1 had come to an end. Until next year, cherish the memories in our gallery above and stay tuned for Boomshaka 2019 announcements.

Photography by Sean McCracken & Kristy Rose 

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/gallery/boomshaka-festival-2018

New Town Kings gets political in “Borderline” video | Top Shelf Reggae

The UK's immigration policies are not too far from those of the United States, having a rigid stance on modern mass migration. As the immigration debate continues to spin its wheels, refugees get caught in the crossfire of a pissing contest between first-world nations, when really it boils down to 'are we going to help our fellow brothers and sisters or not?'. Just because some people are blessed to be born in a country that values its citizens, does that make them impervious to the ones born unlucky? UK reggae group New Town Kings answers this moral conundrum with their views on humanitarianism in their new single and political video, “Borderline”. 

…”locking people out in the name of her Majesty” just isn't going to fly with this take-action band. 

As the refugee crisis gains steam, nations on the receiving end are responding by putting up fences and turning up noses. New Town Kings doubles down on this injustice with emotionally-charged imagery of poverty-stricken people walking along borders in droves, families holding the hands of small children as they pass armed soldiers and drone shots of real refugee camps. Apparently, “locking people out in the name of her Majesty” just isn't going to fly with this take-action band. 

The track is offiically out today on all digital outlets, with its subsequent video premiering on Clash. The single is in anticipation of New Town King's forthcoming album Reaching Out that will drop sometime within the coming year accompanying a full UK tour. For more information, visit www.newtownkings.co.uk.

Links: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website 

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/video/new-town-kings-gets-political-in-borderline-video

Arise Roots interviews at One Love Cali Reggae Fest 2018 | Top Shelf Reggae

Kristy Rose of Top Shelf Reggae got to chat with Arise Roots after their performance at One Love Cali Reggae Festival 2018 in Long Beach, CA. The band was in high demand, so this short and sweet interview highlights what's new for Arise Roots, what the band has up next and what they like to do in their (rare) spare time. For more interviews, articles and photos from the 3rd Annual One Love Cali Fest, explore our site and don't forget to catch Arise Roots in action in a town near you soon.

Photo by Sean McCracken

Band links: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/video/arise-roots-interviews-at-one-love-cali-reggae-fest-2018