The Selecter Live

Hot on the heels of my From the Jam frolics, came another Gig that saw me again skank nostalgically into my misspent youth.

This time it was a midweek trip to the Tramshed to rank full stop to the sounds of The Selecter, with the well-respected Rhoda Dakar in support.

Fronted by the ever sharp Pauline Black, the Coventry based band are right up there as one my favourites from the two tone era.

Back in the day, they were also one of the most successful ska bands of the time, notching up several top forty singles in the British charts.

Two years after their explosive 1979 start, it was all over…until they reformed a decade later and are now celebrating forty years in the business.

So there I was, resplendent in my Amy Winehouse edition Fred Perry, turned up jeans, and black brogues, right up close and personal.

Thank God, I decided flatties were the order of the day – I can do almost anything in my trademark heels but the mosh pit definitely ain’t one of them.

I inadvertently got launched practically head first into the throng at a Bad Manners Gig once – nearly lost my shit, and my toenail.

No such dilemma for Pauline Black and the band who burst onto the stage as snappily dressed and as effortlessly energetic as ever.

The Selecter, fronted by the queen of ska, and the legendary Gaps Hendricksen, took us through the soundtrack of their seventies success to present day.

Classics such as Three Minute Hero, Celebrate the Bullet, Murder, and James Bond, got the crowd singing, dancing.

And shouting Happy Birthday to the timeless front woman who was celebrating her 66th year. Yeah, I know, stands back in amazement – she looks younger than me!

After about sixty minutes of Selecter delight, the original Rude Girl Rhoda Dakar took to the mic to belt out a few tunes – ending on her trademark song Do Rocksteady.

Then Ms Black was back, and the two ladies of two tone treated us to a rousing rendition of Too Much Pressure – my personal fave.

This was swiftly followed by Madness, the song all the ska greats used to sing at the end of those epic tours when the genre was at its peak.

And then came the killer blow. Selecter and Rhoda singing The Beat’s, Can’t Get Used To Losing You as a tribute to their friend of forty years, the late, great Rankin’ Roger, who passed away recently.

They, and we, sang from the heart as his happy, handsome young face lit up the screen behind the stage. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house by the end and even I admit to shedding a little tear…or two.

A fitting end to a night that showcased one of the best ska bands of my generation, with the charismatic Ms Black, marvellous Mr Gaps and cheeky Ms Dakar on point and on form.

Every time I see Selecter, and that includes many a time with the now dearly departed Roger as support, I say it’s the last.

But after the latest perfect performance, which has to score as one of the best, I’m super sure this is definitely not my last Tango in Dub

Money doesn’t buy you happiness but it sure as Hell buys you concert tickets – and that’s kind of like the same thing.

Until the next time then!

Speak soon.


#GigGirl #BarrysBoldestBlogger

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Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs, and writes, about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.

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