Sydney skankers KING TIDE assume the reggae mantle at Global Rhythms 2017, after last year’s standout set by the Diesel n’Dub crew which featured a few of the same players. Below King Tide swap some Qs for As, and tell us there’s much more than Jamaican riddims firing their bellies, just so you know what to expect from their set on September 24th at Bicentennial Park in Glebe.

“Jamaican music has always been our compass,” says King Tide’s energetic frontman Tony ‘Happy Sufferer’ Hughes. “That said, there is a lot more feeding into it. I like the soul of the rock steady period in Jamaican music. We also grab inspiration, like bower-birds, from many musical food groups: hip hop, pop, boogaloo, nineties Manchester, dub styles and Jamaican rockers. After all, our last album was called ‘Roots Pop Reggae’. That title kind of sums it up. We don’t care about pigeons or holes. Whether it’s any good or not, is not for us to say.”

Luckily Eastside can attest to it be very good indeed. After all, King Tide were recently asked to be Jamaican legend Johnny Osbourne’s backing band when he was in town. In other words, they’re quality, which is why we’ve book them for Global Rhythms, an event that not only serves up great artists, but very much celebrates musical diversity and the community/social benefits of people coming together to not only enjoy music, but to be moved by it. We asked Tony to tell us about the first time he saw a band live and was really moved or changed by the experience.

“The first time that happened to me would have been seeing Bob Marley and The Wailers at The Hordern Pavilion in 1978. Bob hit the stage with a big phat [sic] spliff and the whole place lit up together. It was all just so exotic. Live music is definitely a shared experience between the musicians and the audience. When everyone in [a space] is on the same wavelength with the band, it can indeed be a force of nature.”

What can punters expect from King Tide’s set at Global Rhythms this year? 

“You can expect some up-town, jam down, rock steady reggae that’s got soul. We will be playing a smattering of the new material so you can expect some bucket hat Hacienda smiles on everyone’s faces from the Mad-Chester grooves as well. Though it is a global carnival, so we’ll be keeping it rootsy and sunshiney. It’s a family show. The day before we are playing Granite Town Festival in Moruya, so we will be arriving off the road and into the pit. We’ll be tuned and ready to go where ever the flow goes. Anything could happen.”

You were part of last year’s event, which was pretty special – from double rainbows, to everyone on stage together at one point with your drummer Declan Kelly’s Diesel n’Dub crew, First Nation’s vocalist Emily Wurramara and others singing ‘Beds Are Burning’. What was the highlight for you that day?

“The highlight was the lovely vibe .The Eastside radio audience are music lovers. That makes all the difference – it’s like we’re all down in Monteray man, and all on the same bus. Also hanging out with all the other musicians catching up and taking the piss is always a bit of a hoot. We are one big interconnected musical family in this town. We all support each other in many ways. I’m looking forward to Afro Mosses with The Strides doing The Fela Kuti tribute. I love Afro Moses, he is such a dynamic, generous performer.”

King Tide have a new album due out very soon, so Global Rhythms audiences will be hearing some of that previewed. All Tony would say about it was:  “The album is quite diverse. It’s sounding like it could be your good friend.”