Saturday, June 11, 2016

Keeping up with the Skint-Ashians:

The U.K.’s Reggae/Punk Band Skints at California Roots Festival;By Shelah Moody

Who: Tastemaker Live & King of Kings Reggae present the Skints with 2015 Grammy winners Morgan Heritage, Jamere & Laza Morgan, Saane & Delight, Mellow Movement, King I-Vier, DJ Green B, 1 Blood, hosts Spliff Skankin and Show Nuff Entertainment Deecee's Soul Shakedown.

When: Sunday June 12, 8 p.m.

Where: 1015 Folsom Dance Club, San Francisco, CA

The Skints have a lot to celebrate this year. Since I first interviewed them at the 2015 California Roots Festival, the innovative, east London reggae/punk band embarked on an international tour in support of their latest album, “FM” on Easy Star records. They’ve hit the European festival circuit this year and in the U.S., they’ve opened for the likes of southern California roots band Tribal Seeds and Grammy winners Stephen “Ragga” Marley and Morgan Heritage.
The Skints’ sound is a fusion of roots reggae, dancehall, dub, R&B, punk and garage. “FM” has been described as a fitting tribute to the diverse radio culture in the UK that influenced them.
During Memorial Day weekend, (May 27-29), the Skints returned to the wildly popular California Roots festival, held at Monterey County Fairgrounds.
I caught up with the Skints-Marcia Richards (keyboards, melodica, vocals), Josh Waters Rudge (lead guitar, vocals), Jamie Kryiakides (drums, vocals) and John Doyle (bass) in the media lounge after their high energy performance on Saturday afternoon. I asked the Skints, who played the smaller OG stage at Caliroots last year, how it felt to be “upgraded” to the Bowl—the main stage-- which exposed them to a wider audience. Josh said that the upgrade felt “quite luxurious” and an added perk was having a posh dressing room across from Stephen and Damian Marley and the VIP Lounge.

The Skints’ one-hour set in the Caliroots Bowl, thick with smoke from at least 10 strains of sensimilla, consisted of original songs such as “Cost of Living,” “Culture Vulture,” “Rat-A-Tat,” “Laser Beam,” “Forest for the Trees” and “Eyes in the Back of My Head.” Given the Skints’ tight rapport with each other and the audience and their collective quick British wit, I asked them if they’ve considered a venturing into reality television.
“This is the first time anyone has seriously mentioned it,” said Josh. “Keeping up with the Skint-ashians… We should look into it.”
The Skints are advocates of live music and serious instrumentation. Marcia’s ebullient melodica solos are one of the highlights of a Skints show.
“When you play the piano, you can play the melodica,” Marcia explained. “It’s a direct mix between the flute and the piano, which are my two main instruments. I’m very influenced by Augustus Pablo. We used to listen to him in the car when we were driving to shows.”
In closing, I asked each member of the Skints to sum up the California Roots festival experience in a few words.
“It is the most friendly and warm place, both in weather and the vibe,” said Marcia. “These are some of the nicest members of the audience I’ve met during my career.”
“Glorious sunshine,” said Josh.
“Free edibles,” said Jamie.
John chose to be ambiguous in his response. “Sexuality!”

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