Saturday, 1 April 2017

The Beat and The Selecter. ABC Glasgow, March 2017

The Beat and The Selecter . Co-headline tour 2017. 

ABC, Glasgow. 31.March 2017. Live review. 

The Selecter, fronted by the stylish Pauline Black I last saw play a couple of years ago in Oran Mor and The Beat with Ranking Roger, were in Glasgow 3 years ago at the ABC 2. Tonight playing a joint headline tour they have managed to sell out the bigger hall at the ABC on Glasgow's Sauchiehall Street for a night of nostalgic 2-Tone ska. Originally a 6 date tour it has now grown arms and legs, including a return to Glasgow in November 2017, after the first dates sold out so quickly. I was surprised to see how easily they filled this place, the crowd ranging from 50 year old overweight men with shaved heads, to girls night out crowds and hipsters adorned with ginger beards and pork pie hats. 2-Tone was always a broad church.

First on stage for us in Glasgow on Friday night were The Beat. The indefatigable Ranking Roger runs the show, but accompanied on stage in recent years by his son, Ranking Junior (or Matthew Murphy). Ranking Junior's rapid MC rhyming style appeared on the Ordinary Boys song "Boys Will Be Boys" (1 min 50 secs in on this video) and he gives some of the Beat songs a bit of a shake up with this. But only a wee shake up, as there are so many tunes you want to hear entirely as they should be. It is also so refreshing to hear songs with a bit of a political bite to them, such a big part of the 2-Tone scene. When did music start living in this apolitical bubble that makes songs like "Stand Down Margaret" sound alien? The Beat are still writing new songs and fitted a couple seamlessly into the set without dropping the energy levels. There is no sign they are coming to a Ranking Full Stop (see what I did there?)
The Selecter, Glasgow March 2017
Each night they will swap over who plays first and second. Playing first The Beat had to step aside when it looked like they could happily carry on. The Selecter swept on stage next, with rude girl Pauline Black and Arthur 'Gaps' Hendrickson looking as stylish as ever. They have a fantastic back catalogue of songs and this is a bigger band playing with them than I have seen for a while. Despite that a couple of my favourite Hammond organ and guitar riffs from the recordings were a bit subdued tonight, and the two sax players could have done with their volume being up a bit. That aside they had the hall bouncing when blasting out Three Minute Hero, Missing Words and On My Radio. Again politics is never far below the surface with The Selecter, was references to police shootings and Brexit thrown in amongst the dance tunes. 

The night came to an end with a nostalgic nod to the finale of the 2-Tone tour, with members of The Beat joining The Selecter on stage for a rendition of Prince Buster's Madness

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