An all dayer to celebrate all things Ska. It was on from 15.00 to 23.00 but I only arrived for the last three hours to see the actual bands play. First up was Brighton ten piece The Detonators, who got the crowd moving with their energetic and unreconstructed Ska covers. Classics such as Roland Alphonso’s “A shot in the dark” went down really well and the lead singer continually asking us “do you want one more” at the end of every single tune was met with good natured cheers every time.
Next up is Jerry Dammers with a great set of vintage R ‘n’ B, Ska and Rocksteady. Playing everything from Rico Rodriquez to Aaron Neville, his obvious enjoyment of the music is reflected back by the enthusiastic crowd and their non stop jumping and skanking. He mentions that Dennis Alcapone is not turning up to play even though his name has been on the bill since they were promoting this one and says that it’s tied in with some hassles going back to the London International Ska Festival earlier in the month. I guess it’s something to do with money but that’s the way it goes. we’re always free to ask for some money back I suppose. Dammers ends his set with a raucous bootleg of his old band The Specials and asks if anyone knows who bootlegged it, something I guess he does wherever he plays. A great set from a DJ who knows the genre.
A few bands who I always tend to go and see whenever they play (and who I never tire of seeing live) are The Blockheads, Public Enemy, The Jim Jones Revue, Fishbone and The Beat. Amazing to think that they formed in 1978 and have played regularly ever since (although Ranking Roger and ace drummer Everett Moreton are the two remaining original members – Dave Wakeling fronting “The English Beat” in the States where he lives).
It always great to hear their classics like “Mirror in the bathroom”, “Ranking full stop” and “Noise in this world”, and I’ve mentioned before but the twin front men of Ranking Roger and his son Ranking Junior aka Mini Murphy are a dynamic combination. A good way to close out the evening, if the promoters can get people billed to actually appear then it would be even better.