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The Specials


Brixton Academy, London: Saturday 16th May 2009

After a whopping eighteen years, ska-punk kings The Specials decided to surprise us all and embark on a 30th anniversary tour. Playing the last night of a residency at London’s Brixton Academy, a venue at absolute capacity, I had never seen such a queue at the guestlist in all my time of gigging

The crowd was diverse to say the least. From middle-aged women to OAPS to goth girls to skater boys to sports fans - there was at least one representative from every walk of life; a clear indication of the mass appeal of The Specials.

Classics such as ‘Ghost Town’, ‘Too Much, Too Young’ and ‘Rudy, a Message to You’ were all performed much to the glee of the crowd plus a ton of their back-catalogue all went down a real treat. The excitement of the crowd can only be described as overwhelming, instantly contagious. Everyone mentally pinching themselves as they watch before them a band which most thought would never play again.

Front-man Terry Hall, sombre as always, continually issued wise-cracks about the days Premier League football match which didn’t go down a storm to say the least, evoking frantic boo’s of anger from the beer-fuelled punters, supporters of the opposite team. The rude boys of the night, mature as they are, held the audience completely captive and conducted a dominating and electrifying performance. The gargantuous black and white checked ‘The Specials’ sign hung proud behind the melange of drums, keyboards, guitars, trombones and horns as the crowd below skanked the night away. Welcome back Specials - ska-punk’s not dead, it was just resting.


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