Laid Blak represent the quintessential Bristol music story, formed from the partnership of Bristol producer DJ Bunjy and MC Joe Peng, two legends of the rave and proto Jungle scenes, the pair spent the 90’s causing havoc on dance floors in the biggest raves around the country, performing for the era defining party brands and popping up on all the essential tape packs.
Building on their successful rave wrecking partnership, the pair began to look for a new musical direction and like many of Bristol’s most loved musical exports, they drew inspiration from the melting pot that is Bristol music, which of course has Reggae and Soundsystem culture at its core. What began as a studio project, found them seeking out some of the most impressive musicians the city has to offer and Laid Blak was formed.
On their journey to becoming one of Bristol’s most exciting and loved live bands, the duo brought in an array of talented musicians to complement and augment their ideas. Including Lupo on bass, Stacy on drums, Scotty on the guitar, Ras on keys and Tita on supporting vocals.
The Laid Blak sound takes massive inspiration from ska and reggae, but has often been described as ‘street soul’. The influences are broad and represent sounds that define the eclecticness of Bristol music, from reggae, to dancehall, soul, hip hop, funk and jazz, whilst of course never forgetting their jungle heritage. It’s all in the blend and the results is a fun filled sunshine dance music that keeps your feet moving and your face smiling.
As live performers Laid Blak are a phenomenon, one reviewer went as far as to describe them as ‘the essential festival band’. No one ever forgets a Laid Blak performance, the charisma of the vocalists and the musical dexterity of the band leave a lasting impression. Winning over even the most cynical of punter and making them shock-out on the dancefloor.
“Whether you are white or black, slim or fat….don’t worry bout that. Just make your body rock…non stop” – MC Joe Peng.
Their first 12” record “Scream and Shout” went bouncing up the playlists on BBC 1xtra, Kiss FM and Choice FM. Later, the single release of ‘Red’ was covered by Ed Sheeran (on his breakthrough SBTV live session), resulting in even more radio exposure and multi-million views on YouTube.
The band originally signed to Brown Punk Records, a label run by former Massive Attack legend Tricky and Chris Blackwell (founder of Island Records and the man who discovered Bob Marley), then went onto release their debut album red&blak on Bristol based label Reel Me Records.
New York’s Village Voice, DJ and Touch magazine zoned in on the band, giving them excellent reviews. Laid Blak have won an army of local and international support. The band is tight, polished, musically diverse and completely at home whether playing blues, R&B or the most hypnotic reggae.
“The live arena is where Laid Blak excel…”
They have supported many heavyweights from the world of reggae and beyond like Toots and Maytals, Desmond Dekker, Nitin Sawhney, Julian Marley, John Legend, Luciano and even pop acts like McFly. They also performed alongside Tricky in Paris and supported The Wailers on their recent UK tour dates as well as The Easy Allstars and Lee Scratch Perry.
Ed Sheeran who is famed with ending all his gigs with ‘Red’ a Laid Blak track and most recently Mad Professor, Adrian Sherwood, Damian Marley, Congo Natty, Mungo’s Hi-Fi, Gentleman’s Dub Club and Solo Banton.
Laid Blak have regularly rocked the crowd at festivals around the UK including: Glastonbury Festival, Boomtown, Shambala, Love Saves the Day, St Pauls Carnival, Bristol Harbourside Festival, plus many many more besides.
The band have also been involved in many charity events, as well as putting together their own fundraisers for the likes of Kampala (African Charity), Cancer Research UK, Oxfam, Green Peace and more recently an appeal to raise funds for the Haiti Relief Aid Appeal.
As you can tell, these guys love performing live, and their infectious enthusiasm is plain to see.
The eagerly anticipated second album is due for release in 2017. The album entitled ‘About Time’ will feature tracks written and recorded over the past 5 years, for which the band will excitedly perform across Europe over the summer of 2017.