Hailing from one of the most politically active cities in the United States, Midnight Raid reflects Oakland’s revolutionary mentality. Through the time tested rebel mediums of reggae and rock music, this six-piece power house band promotes resistance and unity in this new era of social consciousness.
Inspired by the unfiltered styles of artists like Peter Tosh, Steel Pulse and John Browns Body, Benjamin Garcia Candelaria (vocals/guitar) wanted to offer a musical outlet for current socio-political disdain and to reflect the diverse culture of his home state of California. To help create the sound that was to become Midnight Raid, they enlisted reggae veteran John Baker, bass player from the band Lucky Dub and environmental activist from Washington D.C. Baker’s aggressive bass lines give MNR a distinctive tone that gets the audience moving. Shortly after, Midnight Raid found Vimalier Reyes-Oritz, a classically trained keyboardist from Puerto Rico. “V,” as he is often called, offers salsa and montuno rhythms and melodies that diversify the band’s sound. The most recent addition to the band is lead guitarist, Lenny Crammer. A Tennessee native, Crammer adds his unique approach of using “soundscaping” to the voice of Midnight Raid. One can hear dynamic guitar swells underneath the lyrics and colorful leads soaring over the rhythm. Recently, the band has added drummer Justin Estep, formerly of Them Rude Boys and Josh Dunlop, another Tennessee native on Saxophone. Together, the group has decades of musical experience, resulting in a band that values professionalism just as much as musicianship, creativity and originality.
Pulling from a breadth of influences, Midnight Raid has created a refreshing original sound for the times we live in. While staying true to the spirit of the reggae genre, the band focuses on offering a number of musical experiences in every song by adding tastes of rock, funk, soul, punk and latin styles. The band’s eclectic sound translates into an exciting live show, and mixed with themes of economic, social, and environmental justice, Midnight Raid is bringing audiences to a higher level of consciousness.