Midnite express: Reggae/roots band to make North Tahoe debut Friday

Staff report
Courtesy photo

If you go

What: Midnite

When: 10 p.m. Friday, March 22

Where: Crystal Bay Club Crown Room

Tickets: $23 advance, $25 day of show; learn more at

After-party: Arden Park Roots, in the Red Room

CRYSTAL BAY, Nev. — One of America’s favorite reggae/roots bands is making its long-awaited return to Lake Tahoe — and its debut in the Crown Room at the Crystal Bay Club.

Hailing from St. Croix, Virgin Islands, Midnite weaves the cultural lyrics of old school roots music with modern day experiences to create a unique listening encounter, according to a biography on the band’s website. Roots/reggae, done naked and raw, is an apt description for Midnite’s musical style, in which they forgo the frills of extensive remixes, overdubbing and other musical refinements.

Below is an excerpt from the band’s bio; learn more at

Lead singer Vaughn Benjamin’s electrifying voice seems an amalgamation of many great voices in reggae-soulful, chanting, edgy. Vaughn’s potent lyrical style and his brother Ron Benjamin’s exquisite production, vocals, dub, arrangements, keyboard and bass musical arrangements form the nucleus of this musical, rootsy-heavy sound, which includes Christian Molina (drums), Edmund Fieulleteau (guitar), Edwin Byron (guitar) and Ras L (keyboards).

“Unpolished” is the title of their debut album, which includes such classics as “Don’t Move,” “Mama Africa,” and “Love the Life You Live.” It was originally released in 1997, while the band was located in Washington, D.C.

In 1999, Midnite linked up with Wildchild! Records for their second release “Ras Mek Peace.” Incredibly, this album was recorded using only two channels and was mastered without any reverb, filtering, compression or equalization. Songs like “Hieroglyphics,” in which graffiti is likened to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, showcase the intelligent songwriting that pervades all of Midnite’s works.

Following the release of Ras Mek Peace, Midnite returned to live in St. Croix so that they could work with the local musicians and make recordings at their African Roots Lab without any outside interference. The fruits of these labors can be found on their third album “Jubilees of Zion,” which was released on their independent Afrikan Roots Lab record label. The expansive, hypnotic rhythms continue, alongside the messages of peace, universal brotherhood, and cultural resistance to Babylon.

In June 2002, Midnite made their Northern California debut at the 9th Annual Sierra Nevada World Music Festival. That same month saw the release of Midnite’s fourth album “Seek Knowledge Before Vengeance.” Released on their Afrikan Roots Lab record label, this album raises the bar of cultural roots reggae as we know it today.

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