Since 2012, Blackwood Kings has proven itself to be one of the more unique bands to pop up in the Victoria, BC scene. Blending influences from reggae, dub, punk, and progressive rock, Blackwood Kings produce a politically and emotionally charged brand of musical fusion that is uniquely their own.

Avoiding the trappings of stereotypical “white-boy reggae” or derivative ska revival, the group incorporates the syncopated rhythms of Jamaican music into their sound with a meticulous attention to detail that pays tribute to the genre’s forefathers. Drawing on their eclectic tastes, the band likes to mix in flavours from a diverse set of outside influences, from punk and progressive rock, to jazz and jungle. Don’t be surprised to hear a psychedelic dub breakdown and a ripping punk outro in the same tune.


Blackwood Kings released its debut EP at the tail end of 2015. Despite being short in length, the four-track release showcases the diversity of the group’s sound. Lead single “Into The Blue” blends a reggae feel with frantic drum n’ bass beats, “Paralysis” takes the listener on a journey through angular stops and cavernous dub, while “Idle Nature” is a post-ska stomper with a rhythmically dizzying bridge. “Upholding lies that blind us from the dirty minds that bind us/ Contending ideologies contain and then divide us” pines frontman Chris Zielonka on “Break Away”, a dense dub track that morphs into a Latin-tinged sax-and-trombone solo section. 

In 2019 they released Still Growing, a digital double A-side that features a tribute to some of the rapid-fire ska-punk groups they grew up on like State Radio, Streetlight Manifesto, and The Suicide Machines. The group followed this up with “Roots” in 2022, the first single from their upcoming Mind to Mind EP. The five-song collection features songs both old and new that showcase the group’s disparate blend of sonic vibes such as ska-punk stomper “Dub Love”, proggy interlude “Z8”, and the shoegaze-meets-reggae title track.

Blackwood Kings’ has shared the stage with notable acts such as Authority Zero, J-Boog, The Slackers, The Mad Caddies, Macka B, The Skints, Gondwana, Grimskunk, and Third World. The group has appeared at festivals such as Rifflandia, Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest, and Fernfest, while also lending their performances to social and political events such as the University of Victoria “Earth Fest” featuring speakers such as the Green Party’s Elizabeth May, and a fundraiser for building a hospital in Sierra Leone alongside acclaimed reggae/highlife group Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars. 

Meet the band

Chris Zielonka

Guitar / Vocals

Noel anstey

Guitar / Vocals / Keys

David Schwab

Trombone / Vocals

Michael Luis


Lee Gauthier


Theo Hughes-Ridgway

Saxophone / Vocals

Photos by Colin Smith, Adam Lee, and Trevor Ball

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