Version City Tour:
By popular demand, New York’s long-standing Reggae, Rocksteady and Ska party (active in various forms since 1997) is taking it on the road for the first time. The “Version City” tour is a compact six-piece revue in three acts featuring diverse and fresh blends of Jamaican roots music-- reggae, rocksteady, and ska-- peppered with American rhythm & blues and soul. The show will open with a set from Matt MacLeod, soulful vocalist and keyboardist of The Heavy Beat, with backing from the Snails. Matt will then switch to bass for the Snails’ own set, fronted by the dynamic singer/guitarist Todd Fausnacht. For the finale, King Django will take the helm and lead the troop through a wide selection of material from his long and diverse career.
King Django is internationally loved and respected as an important proponent of Jamaican and Jamaican-influenced music. With a career now spanning nearly three decades he has made his mark as an influential bandleader, singer, songwriter, arranger, engineer, producer, musician and independent record label owner, especially in the genres of ska, rocksteady, reggae, dub and even hardcore/punk rock. He has toured many times throughout the US, Europe, Canada, and Japan as the leader of Stubborn All-Stars, Skinnerbox and the King Django band; and as a sideman with such renowned acts as Rancid, Murphy’s Law, The Slackers and the Toasters. He currently performs regularly with the King Django X-tet and Bad Luck Dice. In 1997 he assembled the Version City recording studio which rapidly became the hub of the NYC ska and reggae scene. Django moved the studio to New Brunswick, NJ in 2000, where he continues his engineering and production work for a wide roster of international clients. In 2012 he celebrated the 20th anniversary of his independent label, Stubborn Records and the 5th year anniversary of his “Version City” vinyl label based in Kingston, Jamaica.
The Snails are an eclectic act specializing in various forms of Jamaican music, blended with ragged 50's rock 'n' roll and the sweet sounds of American soul. The band is fronted by Todd Fausnacht on lead guitar, complemented by Tim Hildebrand on rhythm guitar. The driving beats spring from the rhythm section of Josh Parry on drums, Ben Parry on bass, and Kyle Williams on organ. Though Fausnacht's vocals lead the group, it's not uncommon for the voices of all five members to come together in cascading harmony. The Snails are no strangers to providing the musical backdrop for other acts. In early 2012 they toured the northeast U.S. with King Django as his backing band, as well as playing their own set each night. They performed with Stubborn Records artist Rocker T at the recent Stubborn Records 20th Anniversary Party, and traveled the Midwest with Sammy K, formerly of the Brooklyn rocksteady band the Forthrights, in summer 2012. The Snails will soon be releasing their new 4-song EP "The River," recorded at Version City. The release will be commemorated by the upcoming Version City Tour.
Matt MacLeod is the keyboard player and one of two lead singers of Pennsylvania based reggae band The Heavy Beat. Formed in 2007, The Heavy Beat has played over 300 shows, from DC to NYC. Matt splits songwriting and singing duties with guitar player Noah Marsters. The band has a large repertoire of songs which reverently explores the sounds of 1960s and 70s Jamaica. From it's beginning, The Heavy Beat has made a conscious effort to translate Jamaican music with an understanding that this music was written in place far away, decades before they were even an egg in the womb. While MacLeod and Marsters have a commitment to the Jamaican sound, they avoid fetishism and allow transients of outside influences and personality to polish off a sound of their own. Matt approaches the organ in an aggressive manner. As a self taught player, he focuses on complementing the band with heavy syncopated patterns rather than complex theory based leads. His influence by Jamaican greats such as Jackie Mittoo and Winston Wright is prevalent, as well American Soul, R&B and Rock and Roll artists. In 2011, MacLeod took his keys on the road with Two-Tone Legends Bad Manners, playing 28 gigs across the US and Canada. With Buster Bloodvessel at the helm, Matt could further hone his organ craft and experience a whole new brand of performance. He recently took up the role of bassist for the Snails and will be on stage throughout each performance of the Version City Tour.
Version City Tour’s tracks