Pauline Black and Arthur “Gaps” Hendrickson were the two original front people in The Selecter , so its great to see them side by side in this latest incarnation of the band.
Pauline Black has always been passionate about her identity (her autobiography “Black by design” explores this theme and is a great read as it gives a female perspective on Two Tone) and in 2011 The Selecter released a new album “Made in Britain”. They also have a new one called “String theory” out now, so it’s not just about playing the old hits from their previous albums.
In true Ska style it’s a fairly large band, drums, bass, lead guitar, keyboards, and two sax players and they play in a rousing, bouncy style that gets people jumping from the start. They kick off the set with a skanked up version of the theme from “The Avengers” and the upbeat feel continues throughout the set.
I’m not familiar with the new stuff and need to get hold of the albums but the subject matter sound like it deals with life in England, the riots of a few years ago and the rise of neo-Fascist loons like the EDL.
Black and Gaps still have the energy to jump around like excitable pups, and perform like they love doing it, with Gaps wringing out his sweat drenched shirt with the blithe comment “I’m sweating”.
Of course, it’s the old Two Tone classics that encourage a rowdy sing a long, with “Three minute hero”, “Missing words”, and “James Bond” getting huge receptions.
They encore with “On my radio”, a thirty-four year old ditty that’s as relevant now as it was back then and that’s it from a couple of seasoned performers who know how to put on a proper show.