The Black Bottom Lighters are the biggest thing on the Valley reggae scene since white guys learned how to dreadlock their hair. The six-piece Glendale-based desert reggae crew has been jamming together for more than two years in their current form, and that's all it's taken to grab the ear of many of the Valley's reggae fans.
BBL has already opened for Celtic punk icons Flogging Molly, toured in support of their self-titled EP, and headlined the Marquee Theatre. But what they have coming up in the next 2 weeks dwarfs those accomplishments.
Anybody paying attention has seen that BBL is part of the amazingly eclectic True Music Festival lineup, with The Flaming Lips, Wiz Khalifa, Bassnectar, Dry River Yacht Club and all those other amazing bands coming up in just less than two weeks. What they may not know is that The Black Bottom Lighters were also invited to play The Big Ticket Music Festival in Jacksonville this coming weekend.
The Black Bottom Lighters will be headlining one of two secondary stages at the show, opening the day for Arizona Natives Jimmy Eat World and Chester Bennington of Stone Temple Pilots as well as The Dirty Heads, Pepper, and other national and regional bands.
The opportunity came about when BBL became the featured band of the month for September 2013 on Reverbnation, another testament to their meteoric rise over the past two to three years. "We were the featured artist of the month, and in return for being artist of the month they gave us some free submissions. We took advantage of it and applied to all these shows and a couple weeks later the promoter for the Big Ticket show called us and told us they chose us out of 1200 other bands to play the show," says the band's lyricist Ryan "Stilly" Stilwell.
The bands other rhythm guitarist and second vocalist, Taide Pineda, was the member actually responsible for picking the shows to which BBL would apply, and he obviously did the band proud, landing them on what Stilly said was "one of the biggest shows we are able to apply to."
The band will be hitting the road on Saturday, but before that they'll throw themselves a going away party at their weekly Wednesday residency at Downtown Phoenix's Copper Blue's from 7 P.M. until 10 PM.
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"I just never expected it to go this far," says drummer Ryan McPhatter. "It's funny how this worked out. It's like a paper airplane; you just throw it and see where it's going to go." Along with the upcoming festival dates BBL will also be releasing a new single called "Carousel." But while they look to step into the national spotlight, BBL are still holding it down for their home state.
"Coming out of Arizona--playing with the Stone Temple Pilots, Chester [Bennington] is their lead singer, and he's from AZ," says Stilly, "and Jimmy Eat World is out of AZ too. It just proves that there's room for Arizona music."
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"It's going to be a pretty wild ride," says McPhatter.