The Black Bottom Lighters will appear at this year's Unity Festival in Guerneville, CA. A Unity Festival sounds delightful and is easily comprehended. But, what is a "Black Bottom Lighter?" It's a Reggae band out of Arizona heading out to California to enchant the conscious music fans who will be pouring into the fest on Sept. 12-14, 2014. Unity Festival is celebrating its fourth year of music, fun, community, and positive vibes on the Russian River in Guerneville. The Black Bottom Lighters will be helping to celebrate these vibes with some real Desert Reggae.
What is Desert Reggae? Well, if you've ever heard the Sacramento award winning band, Arden Park Roots, you'll get a hint of the Black Bottom Lighters vibe even if they do come out of Arizona where its even hotter, drier and dustier than most parts of Cali. One of their hit songs, "Stuck in Arizona" peals out the Reggae Rock rhythm with fun reference to their Arizona origins. Reggae fans planted in California will smile at the "stuck" lyrics as they welcome the Arizona Reggae tribe to their CA homeland that holds no welcome barriers when it comes to the origins of good music whether Reggae, Rock, Ska, Roots, Funk or any other music that stirs the soul and makes the heart thump and body jump.
The BBL boys are an unpretentious lot. They approach interviews with a casual chat. They write songs that come from the gut while uplifting the spirit. One surely wouldn't want to call them "good ole boys" but they are a skilled troop of young musical artists whose popularity is growing fast as their influence spreads far beyond their Arizona roost where the magic started in 2010 in Glendale. They are inspired by and include touches of Reggae, Rock, Hip Hop and a variety of genres.
Black Bottom Lighters band members who will surely be creating some new fans at Unity Festival include Ryan "Stilly" vocalist, Taide "T" vocalist and guitarist, Ryan "McPhatty" drummer, Jose bass guitarist, Kelyn on keys and Phil lead guitarist. The BBL self-titled debut EP was released late in 2012 and they are currently working on releasing their first full length album which was recently announced to actually be a double disc album with a full length, full-band disc and bonus full length acoustic disc. "2 or 2000" will shortly be available on iTunes and at their official band website.
The Black Bottom Lighters choose Reggae Rock as their genre because, as BBL guitarist and vocalist Taide says, "The feeling of positive vibes and energy that we receive from Reggae Rock inspires us to return the good vibes." Lead vocalist Stilly adds that "ever since I heard my first Sublime song, it's been Reggae/Rock. I, as you say, 'stand up and shout' for the natural, easy, loving feeling that I get by listening to it. I LOVE IT!" They are clearly enthusiastic about what they do. The clarity of their enthusiasm and passion shines through the sound, the look and the feel that they create and it is unmistakable when sharing in one of their performances.
When asked about their experience in California versus Arizona, BBL drummer Ryan McPhatter explains, "I don't think there are any big differences in AZ to CA fans or venues. We're neighbors so it's like we're all one big family!" Most Reggae enthusiasts also know that the genre, at heart, views the world as one big family. The Black Bottom Lighters are still fairly new to the family but they are finding common ground, love and respect as they tour. Keyboardist Kelyn states, "We look forward to touring the US. We did a west coast tour last year (Oregon Trail Tour) and we are going to expand on that." Unity Festival guests can now look forward to the BBL boys stirring up the good feeling vibe in Guerneville, CA in Sept. 2014.
The Black Bottom Lighters band members, according to bassist Jose, are "looking forward to performing to a new audience in the Unity Festival." He says, "We've played just a couple times in that part of Cali so we're hella stoked to be coming back and showing Unity Festival the best that Arizona's desert reggae has to offer." Unity Fest fans are likewise looking forward to embracing their Desert Reggae as it rings out over the Russian River, across the expansive venue lawns, and into their open hearts. Because the BBL philosophy "is simple, just have fun and live your life and be kind to others that live there's," their fans respond with ease, joy and enthusiasm. The good-natured vibe, the upbeat rhythm and intent, the obvious talent combined with passion creates a quick and solid fan base. Jose says their approach is to "bring genuine, raw energy. We give it our all. We don't mind if people are skankin' moshing or dancing. As long as they're saying to themselves that they're having the best time of their lives, that's what we aim for."