High Tide brings reggae to Taiwan's shores
By Derek Kensinger Translated by Angel Pu
Photos by Steve Mawson, Joe Russo
Get on board quick. Another wave is rolling in and High Tide is here. Thanks in part to this band, fast-paced and developed Taiwan has something in common with its distant, laid-back island cousin Jamaica--the sweet sounds of reggae music. Talented and cohesive, the group offers an authentic sound best categorized as "fourth wave ska", an educated mix of the preceding three generations of reggae music, strutting hypnotic rhythm and sharp horn sections and poignant lyrics.
High Tide gets its name from the so-dubbed Wailers song, the chorus reassuring that reggae, like life, like love, is a continuum, "In High Tide or in Low Tide, I'll be by your side." The band chose it because of its reference to social change, plus they "needed a name quickly for Spring Scream registration".
The seven band members are led by Moshe Foster on vocals and guitar, with Andy Francis, Wesley James and Macgregor Ian Wooley on horns, Mike Tennant on drums and Alexander John Ives on lead guitar. In 2005, they met in Taipei and, despite having many members, claim a strong sense of unity, noting they "make artistic decisions as a team...the rhythm, melody and message are complimentary to each other...we are a unit".
High Tide's unifying message can be boiled down to one word: love. When asked whether religion or ethnicity play a role in reggae music, the band quips, "When we are playing music...what we are doing is sharing the love...." Supporting this sentiment, "Babylon", the lead single off their latest album "21st Century Dream", reminds us that in the face of the world's woes "love is a blessing”.
The band has played all over Taiwan, most recently blessing an irie crowd of over 1,000 at Taipei club Revolver on Dec. 10, and has also performed multiple times at Spring Scream and won an ICRT battle of the bands contest. Even so, band members confide that some of their absolute best times playing music have been during shows in Taichung, first at the Grooveyard, later at 89K and now at The Refuge. They look forward to seeing Taichung continue to grow and develop its indie music scene and style and want to see Taiwan as a whole become an international role model for artistic development.
You can find High Tide on cdbaby.com/artists/hightide4, itunes and amazon.com or join their Facebook group to stay up to date on news, events and upcoming shows.
Note: Visit www.taiwanfun.com for a full interview with this band.