All the old Two Tone bands released their first records on the influential label 30 years ago, so tonight it’s the turn of The Beat to celebrate their 30th anniversary. I’ve never been to the Camden Centre before, but it’s a decent enough sized venue with a reasonable sound system situated right opposite St. Pancras station in London.
The DJ is playing a great selection of vintage Ska tunes and the crowd is an amiable bunch of skinheads, rude boys and rude girls dressed up to the nines in suits and port pie hats. A little cheer goes up in the middle of the dancefloor when a very dapper Lynval Golding from The Specials walks across the floor to get to the backstage area. He’s grinning and shaking hands as he goes and gets quite a few pats on the back as he disappears.
Support for this one comes from the Neville Staples Band, who start with “Man at C&A” and proceed to lead the crowd through those classic Specials songs. Neville is in his element as the front man, leaping about like a man half his age and bellowing out rousing renditions of well known songs. Particular stand out tracks were “Gangsters”, “A message to you Rudy” and “Do nothing”. All the while the crowd are going berserk, pogoing like mad and throwing beer everywhere. 🙂 Proper high-spirited moshing by people of all ages – nothing better.
After a while, Neville introduces Ms. Pauline Black who looks great in her trilby and suit. Have a look at the picture of her on her website (see the link below) and you’ll see what I mean as this is the exact outfit she’s wearing tonight. She sings “Three minute hero”, “Too much pressure”, “Missing words” and “On my radio”. Classic Selecter songs that still sound great delivered by Ms. Black who is in fine voice tonight. Neville joins her on stage for a version of “Ghost Town” that has the majority of the crowd singing along. Basically, it wasn’t really a support set – it’s just two headlining bands ripping through their classic tunes. Can’t complain about that at all 🙂
You can get the gist of what The Beat’s set was like by reading this review of when I saw them in March: https://getoutgigging.wordpress.com/2009/03/27/
Once again it was an extermely tight set, with Roger and his son storming through the classic Beat songs and keeping the hall jumping from the start of their set right through to the end. They encore with “Jackpot” and leave the stage to the refrain of “goodbye everybody” sung by the crowd. Two headline bands playing sets of around 90 minutes each and giving a healthy exercise in nostalgia for their great 30 year old songs. It’s still weird to think how long ago this all was, but good music will always have an audience. If you get a chance to catch this tour check it out as it’s well worth it.