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The Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, Wed 31 Jan.
It’s another evening for this town’s ska appreciation society to savour; a double-header from two of the giants of the genre: The Selecter and The Beat. Despite information to the contrary, it’s The Selecter who are playing first. “Good Evening, all you lovely people from Adelaide!” Pauline Black greets the crowd with a smile and, after being pumped up at the merch table for the last little while, looks more than ready to channel her energy into the show. She promises to bring “a heavy dose of 2 tone music” to The Gov tonight. The evening kicks off with The Avengers Theme, a song from 2013’s String Theory album. This is followed by Three Minute Hero, which takes the audience happily back to those very early days of the English ska revival. This sets the scene for the show; a good blend of the old and the new, with a slight leaning towards the former.
Black and her partner-in-music, Arthur ‘Gaps’ Hendrickson, marshal the band and the audience through an hour of classic ska. The newer songs still carry the trademark sound of the band, something that proves a theme for the entire evening. All the classics are present: Missing Words, Danger, Train To Skaville, James Bond and On My Radio make the urge to dance impossible to resist for some. Of the more recent offerings, the slow reggae groove of Frontline and the title track of the band’s latest album, Daylight, are highlights.
The set concludes with a Carry Go Bring Home singalong, and then Too Much Pressure (which segues into Pressure Drop).
After the break, The Beat hit the stage. Ranking Roger cuts a slightly different figure than the one punters probably remember from those classic clips of the early 1980s, but it is quickly evident that his voice still carries the authentic sound of the band. He admits it has “been a while”, but he’s glad to be back in town. Whine And Grine/Stand Down Margaret and Too Nice To Talk To get the crowd going again after the interval. The Beat, quite possibly more so than other bands of the era, had a distinctly unique sound. Some might say it was a sound almost impossible to recreate. It is amazing that this incarnation sounds spot on. The sax is almost perfect. Roger’s son, Ranking Junior, does a great job in the second vocalist role, and the blending of the two voices is reminiscent of The Beat in their pomp. All of the instruments are faithful to that distinctive sound that was enjoyed by thousands back in the day.
The set features another blend of old and new; after four cracking songs from the early days the band follows with a couple from the Bounce album, the group’s latest. In addition, the band also presents their take on Rock The Casbah, dedicated to the sadly-missed Joe Strummer.
Roger keeps up the banter with the audience, offering lessons in the correct pronuciation of Wha’ppen, among other things.
Tears Of A Clown, Save It For Later and Ranking Full Stop all come in the second half of the show, and these guaranteed audience-pleasers are met with enthusiastic skanking and dancing.
The Beat close their show with the expected extended version of Mirror In The Bathroom, which involves some great audience participation.
The evening finally draws to an end when Black and Hendrickson are invited to join The Beat on stage for a life-affirming rendition of Enjoy Yourself, a song made popular in ska circles by Specials on their second LP.
This has been a really decent night out. For these bands to come to Adelaide is almost good enough in itself; the fact that they revel in putting on great shows is both refreshing and admirable.
by David Robinson
Image courtesy of David Robinson
The Selecter Setlist:
The Beat Setlist:
Encore (with Pauline Black and ‘Dubs’ Hendrickson)