“Are you ready to have a good time?” It’s a question that Pauline Black knows the answer to before it’s left her lips. The Selecter are in town and it’s a full house. Before taking to the stage, Pauline and Gaps were working their own merch stall. Both of them more than happy to chat, sign stuff and have photos taken with the fans. It’s a nice touch and more than a few people comment on how lovely Pauline is. In fact contender for quote of the night has to be “Aww, isn’t Pauline lovely – if ever I was ill I’d love to have her look after me.”
Support band The Tuts, sporting some lovely matching ‘erb inspired outfits, had done more than enough to warm up the crowd. (– don’t worry we’ll be introducing you to them in more detail real soon). With this kind of pre-gig build up, you can’t fail to have a good time. So without further ado – ‘Fuck Art, Let’s Dance’.
It doesn’t take long for the crowd to get behind the band. Within a few beats of the ‘The Avenger’ the floor starts to bounce, gently at first, as just a few slightly more oiled members of the crowd start to dance. But by three songs in we’re at ‘Three Minute Hero’ and the skanking is in full flow.
Never ones to shy away from the political edge, ‘My England’ with its clear anti-racist message, maybe one of The Selecter’s newer numbers, but if tonight’s reaction is anything to go by, it’s a message that is heard loud and clear and is easily set to become as much of a crowd pleaser as any of the early stuff.
We are also treated to a smattering of tunes from the band’s latest album, ‘Sub Culture’ – ‘Breakdown’, a song about the disproportionate number of black people to die in police custody is both sombre and hard hitting, and proves beyond doubt that The Selecter are as relevant today as they have always been.
It’s International Women’s Day and as a spokesperson for her gender, there is none more qualified than Pauline to comment on and ask why there is still so much inequality for women in the music industry. She’s living proof that you don’t need to be a man to have balls.
Mid set, Pauline gets sentimental and personal. The cover of the Patti Smith/Bruce Springsteen number ‘Because the Night’ is craftily re-worked into the blue beat vibe and goes down a storm.
It’s all too much for one gentleman. Not only has he lost his shirt, he appears to have lost most of his hair and he simply can’t contain himself anymore. He simply must join the band on stage. It’s not clear if he’s welcome, but he gets short shrift from the band, who look on bemused as he soon climbs down.
‘Last Train To Skaville’ and ‘Too Much Pressure’ bring the main proceedings to an end. It’s hot a sweaty and time for a breather. The crowd gather themselves and wait for the bands return.
“Time for some espionage” bellows Gaps as Will plucks out the most recognisable film music of all time. ‘James Bond’ is a fine tune and showcases the whole of the bands talents, especially Orlando’s flute playing, while Pauline watches proudly from the back. It’s been a romper of a gig, the set closes with what is sure to become a feature for the rest of the tour, The Tuts invading the stage and invading the crowd. Wonderful. So in answer to Pauline’s earlier question – Yes. We had a great time. When can we do it again?
View From The Pit Gallery – just click on any picture to see full size
The Selecter still have 12 dates left of this tour – so if you fancy a good time, you’d better get up on your feet, put your boots on and get yourself along for some of that good old moonstomping. The Selecter live is a good time guaranteed!