Scene and Heard

Local reggae band set to embark on Texas tour

Unfortunately when it comes to music these days, “originality” is a word lacking in most descriptions. I’ve seen and heard (no pun intended) countless bands that I can honestly say I wish I never had. So many bands in the local scene bite off from those who actually accomplish their own sense of personal style, while the rest only seem to manage a meager imitation, leaving the listener eager to get back to the genuine article.
Oceanside reggae outfit Irieside completely embodies originality and personal style and are a force to be reckoned with. Yes, reggae has a sound that can be repetitious among other reggae bands. But North County has a wonderful history of producing unique, very original reggae groups that are only categorized as reggae because we haven’t come up with a term that adequately describes their sound other than that. Irieside is Anthony Williams — their energetic emcee and lead man, sharing vocal duties while also carrying on lead guitar duties is Ben Blessing, Steven Stotelmyre is on the bass and backup vocals, Arjay Pantig is on trumpet and backup vocals, and Sid Hilarides lays down the beats at each show.
Irieside’s sound is both a hybrid of reggae and rock, punk and folk with hip hop influences. So while we struggle for a proper term to categorize just exactly what this is, the band suffers through our falsely given genre titles.
But suffering is not exactly what Irieside has been doing. In fact, the band has done nothing but flourish in our scene and abroad since forming back in 2003. Set from the beginning to hit the “big stage,” this band has been plugging away at solidifying their sounds and style and the county has supported them every inch of the way. In doing so, the band has established itself its own presence among the greats within the San Diego music scene. Their shows have run the gamut: from insane frat parties and dingy local bar dives (Squid Joe’s, Royal Dive), to the larger venues like The Belly Up, The Galaxy and The Coach House, and even festivals like Fiesta del Sol. The guys have opened up for world famous acts like Barrington Levy, Common Sense, Maxi Priest and countless — and I mean countless — local acts.
Irieside is known to just about any and all who love the local scene. You can’t walk into a bar in North County without seeing a flier blaring the news of an upcoming Irieside show. That’s the beauty of having a legitimate sound such as they do. Currently, the band is one of the many gems in North County who are still unsigned but that’s surely going to change as soon as the rest of world hears the tunes they’ve been making. Check them out live March 14 at The Royal Dive in Oceanside before they embark on a small Texas tour later next month. You can view more tour dates, album info and more on the band’s MySpace page at