The Selecter live 1979, 1980 & 1981

selectermayfairI first saw The Selecter on the legendary Two Tone tour which called at Newcastle Mayfair on November 9th 1979. This tour brought Ska to the masses, coming off the back of the punk revolution, and featured the combined talents of headliners The Specials, Madness and The Selecter. The tour sold out everywhere, and was a complete success, but sadly the main reason it made the press was because of some violent outbreaks caused by a minority of troublemakers in some venues. The National Front and the British National Party were out recruiting at the shows, even though the bands who were performing on the tour openly distanced themselves from racism. It was a strange paradox, here we had fans dancing to multi-racial bands and singing along with songs whose lyrics preached racial unity, and yet the far-right was trying to sell politics which came from the complete opposite end of the spectrum. As I recall, there was quite a bit of trouble at the Mayfair gig, with fights breaking out throughout the night; and being one of a small number of people in the crowd with long hair, I did feel quite unsafe at times. None the less I survived 🙂 and it was a great night, featuring three excellent bands. The Selecter, fronted by Pauline Black, got the crowd warmed up that night. selecter
The next time I saw The Selecter was when their own headline tour called back at the Mayfair on 20th February 1980, with support from The Bodysnatchers. By then they had been in the charts with the excellent catchy single “On My Radio” which reached No 8, and had just released “Three Minute Hero” which got to No 16.
The final time I saw The Selecter was at the City Hall on 15th March 1981. I think the Belle Stars (who formed out of the Bodysnatchers) may have supported. The Selecter were always fun to see, but they have often been overshadowed by their contemporaries Madness and the Specials, which is a bit of a shame. The band still plays today.

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