Posts Tagged ‘ska’

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.

The Specials Newcastle Mayfair 9th November 1979 19th September 1980

The Specials Newcastle Mayfair 9th November 1979 19th September 1980
specialstix In Autumn 1979 The Specials released their debut album, entitled simply ‘Specials’ and a 40 date ‘2 Tone Tour’ of the country began featuring The Specials, Madness and The Selecter. The tour ended at Newcastle Mayfair on 9th November 1979 and played to a packed house. The music was great, marred by some fighting in the crowd. From a review of the time: “Madness and The Selecter join The Specials for an all band finale of Skinhead Moonstomp which had become a tradition of the tour. A horde of fans invaded the stage and cause chaos. Which has by now become a tradition of the tour.” All three bands played excellent sets that night and bootleg recordings exist of the Specials and Madness from the concert.
Specials setlist: (Dawning of a) New Era; Do the Dog; It’s Up to You; Monkey Man; Rat Race; Blank Expression; Rude Boys Outa Jail; Concrete Jungle; Too Hot; Doesn’t Make It Alright; Stupid Marriage; Too Much Too Young; The Guns of Navarone; Little Bitch; A Message to You, Rudy; Nite Klub; Gangsters; Longshot Kick De Bucket; Skinhead Moonstomp; You’re Wondering Now
The Specials were back at the Mayfair for an equally crazy show in 1980. Support came from The Swinging Cats. Jerry Dammers talking about crowd stage invasions at the time: “At first it was a great laugh – we’re all in this together, there’s no stars here. Then people were getting on-stage two numbers into the set. It became tedious and dangerous, but you couldn’t stop it. One gig we told the audience it was too dangerous and they wouldn’t have it and it ended up in a massive ruck with the bouncers.”

Bad Manners The Royalty Gosforth Newcastle 1981

Bad Manners The Royalty Gosforth Newcastle 1981

“Lip up fatty, ah lip up fatty, for the reggae, Lip up fatty, ah lip up fatty, for the reggae, Listen to the music, shuffle up your feet, Listen to the music of the fatty beat.”

I experienced the fatty beat as delivered by Buster Bloodvessel and his ska compatriots a couple of times in the early 80s. The first Bad Manners gig I attended was at the wonderful (and scary) Middlesbrough Rock Garden. This was just after the wonderfully named Ne-Ne Na-Na Na-Na Nu-Nu had hit the charts. By my second Band Manners experience they had also had hit singles with Lip Up Fatty and a few other songs. I took Ashleigh along to this gig; she was really into Bad Manners at the time. A great fun time was had by all, and particularly by our hero Buster who gave us lots of tongue wagging and some cool ska dancing. And their version of Can Can has to be seen to be believed, Buster is still out there doing it, although he has now lost some weight now. He may not be quite the fat man he was, but I am sure he will still be the same larger than life character that he always was. I still have nightmares about him mooning at us.

The Specials Hull Arena 16 Oct 2011

The Specials Hull Arena 16 Oct 2011
I was looking forward to this. I haven’t seen The Specials since the early 80s! Hull arena is an ice rink down close to the docks. Last night it was full of 40 something rude boys and girls who had turned out to see their heroes. And they didn’t let us down. Everyone was up for dancing, and dance they did! The band came out to a video montage which took us through the years since The Specials last graced our stages. This started with Thatcher, And took us though the death of Diana, the Blair years, the millennium and on to the recent riots and Cameron. Pretty political stuff, but then The Specials always did mix politics with the music. Then it was into Gangsters and the place erupted. This took me back a good few years, i’d forgotten just how powerful they were. The set was long, which seemed to pass in a flash” stand outs for me were Rat Race, Too Much Too Young, Enjoy Yourself and first encore Ghost Town. Great stuff from a live band who on a good night like this can’t be matched. Then it was back into the car off to York, round the ring road and back up home through Middlesbrough. I was home around 1am.
Setlist: (have probably missed a few) Gangsters; Do the Dog; New Era; It’s Up to You; Monkey Man; Blank Expression; Too Hot; Doesn’t Make It Alright; Rat Race; Hey Little Rich Girl; Stupid Marriage; Concrete Jungle; International Jet Set; Friday Night, Saturday Morning; Do Nothing; Stereotype; Man At C&A; Pearl’s Cafe; A Message to You Rudy; Nite Klub; Too Much Too Young; Enjoy Yourself
Encore: Ghost Town

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