It’s not so much a British Invasion, but more of an Irie Evolution.
The London reggae band the Skints is back in the United States for the second of what should be many encores.
“We’re proud to be stepping into the scene,” said Josh Waters Rudge, the quartet’s guitarist. “It’s really cool for us to come in and try and build something out here in the U.S.”
The band members grew up together in Northeast London. The Skints formed in 2007 and have played in more 20 countries. The band made its debut on both of America’s shores last May. Although Rudge says the group is in no hurry to achieve stardom, it’s already back in the States.
On Wednesday it will be in Reno for the first time as part of a diverse reggae-themed show at Cargo in the Whitney Peak Hotel. California reggae’s Tribal Seeds from San Diego headlines the bill that includes the Steppas, which offers island sounds. The Skints feature three singers and a modern, smile-inducing sound that is often flavored with dub and hip-hop.
“In the Internet age, people start a band and they just want it to be big now,” Rudge said. “Sometimes you should just enjoy being in a small band for a while and get into making your own thing over a period of time. Letting it grow naturally might actually be nicer than if you just try and rush it.”
That is the same approach Rudge and his band mates – Jon Doyle on bass. Jamie Kyriakides on drums, and Marcia Richards on keyboards, flute, saxophone and samples – take with their music. Three contribute to the songwriting, and Doyle handles the arrangements.
“If you think it sounds heavy and sick, then other people probably will as well,” he said. “If we like it; (that) is the deciding factor as far as writing tunes. … We were just looking forward to the adventure element of going to America as a band, but as for the actual practicality and the crowd responses (have been) way more than anything we were expecting.”
There are not many British reggae bands, but the music is popular in clubs.
“There were so much musical influences around when we were younger,” Rudge said. “We weren’t necessarily just into reggae. Reggae was kind of a thing that we just sort of agreed on as far as the style of playing we wanted to get into. As listeners we were into punk rock and London based hip-hop, a lot of soul music, a lot of electronic music definitely from our bass player, as well.
“Reggae was the thing that we were really nerdy about. Where we come from, there is a big reggae history anyway. In London we have a huge, huge history with Caribbean culture.”
The Skints will perform Wednesday in a venue that is becoming the region’s greatest showcase for reggae. Last month, Collie Buddz played at Cargo, which will soon present Steel Pulse (Jan. 28), Iration and Pepper (Feb. 17) and Stick Figure (March 13).
“We met a bunch of American reggae bands in May but we didn’t actually meet Tribal, but they saw us at Cali Roots (California Roots Festival) and they invited us on this tour, Rudge said.
“They are really big out here. We’re in Santa Cruz now and they are selling out two nights, 1,000 tickets a night. I am sure they are friends with a lot of bands and they don’t need to invite the Skints on their tour, especially because we don’t know them. We respect that highly. So the vibe on the tour has been completely cool.”
- Tribal Seeds, the Skints, the Steppas
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13; doors at 7 p.m.
Where: Cargo in the Whitney Peak Hotel
For: all ages