Neil and I were looking forward to a little bit of Ska music, it’s just a shame that Fishbone wasn’t appearing after all, still, it should be fun and lively!!
We decided to go to Cuba Libre first to have some Tapas, and to pick up my Snow Patrol cloth bag I thought I had lost and which was found here and kept safe until I could come and get it! 🙂 I was actually standing in the queue for Placebo when I got the call from the Manager saying they have found my it!
When we arrived at the o2 Academy Islington the festival was already in full swing. Still, we managed to get a place at the barrier nearly at the center and were just in time for Rebelation to take the stage. Rebelation are a UK based band who play authentic Reggae, Traditional Ska and Rocksteady, there are about 9 of them on stage, the lead singer Ruby is a pretty young girl and I love Tony’s deadlocks. they are lively and fun , it doesn’t take long for them to get everybody dancing and smiling! Definitely a band to follow. 🙂 I manage to grab a set list at the end too, good start!
Now we have an acoustic artists coming on stage, acustic? Ska? OK, let’s see what Chris Murray can do. Wow, what can I say? I never thought is possible but he certainly knows how to play and how to get the crowd involved. When I looked him up on face book later on I found this little caption on his profile: acoustic ska legend or modern ska icon – whichever is cooler! Chris, I personally think you pretty cool full stop. I’m really quite enthralled with his talent, I never seen anyone playing ska acoustically and making the people dance. Loving this guy.
Next band up are The Skints, again a new band for me. I was hoping for some more happy vibes but I’m afarid I was disappointed, this does not continue the feel good theme from the first band. It sounds more like hiphop or dubsteb. Playing a tiny bit of Sax and the Flute…..? Sometimes I really wonder who and on what grounds the support bands get chosen. I guess musically they were fine, the young girl played the Flute beautifully, it just didn’t seem didn’t fit together. And when I looked at their face book page I had to laugh, this is how they described their genre: reggae/reggae/dub/rocksteady/steppers/ska/pop/roots/rockers in a London-Style………..hmmm, talking about covering all angels. Maybe concentrating on one or two styles might be easier. Sorry guys, this just didn’t do anything for me, and looking around I don’t think I was on my own.
Now, we have Neol Davies aka The Selector on stage. I can’t wait to get skanking. When we recently saw the other half the The Selector with Pauline Black we had the best time! I’m hoping that Neol will be at the same level, or maybe even better, who knows. Right, the stage is set, when he comes on to the stage people clap and shout, he starts and I feel a little let down, not quite what I expected. He seems to go for the slower tunes and talks a lot in between tracks, seems to struggle with his guitar, tuning it constantly. Their new record “Dolla Fe Dolla” is ok, but a bit boring after a while, there is no jumping around on the stage or the floor, maybe it’s just me but I just can’t get into it. They do “on my radio” and not even this tune which I love can produce that feel good feeling. All I can say is that I’m so pleased To have seen The Selecter with Pauline Black first. Roughly in the middle of the set Jerry Dammers appears, now I know why there are two keyboards on the stage, even if they seem to have technical problems with it. Jerry Dammers is of course a former member of The Specials, and, Neville Staples is here too, I don’t think they have been seen in the same vicinity for a while. He did mention that he had a spot of trouble getting through London traffic (nothing new there), he joined in a couple of songs, went off stage just to come straight back and play another one. That was a nice little touch! I felt a little relieved when the set finally finished, I just didn’t get the energy or better didn’t feel the love. The guys on stage didn’t seem to either. 😦
Now to the final set tonight, Neville Staples from The Specials, please make it lively! And lively they made it, from the moment they stepped onto stage you could feel the vibes, energy, loads of it, from all the musicians. Neville may not be the best vocalist in the world but he knows how to entertain. First track is “Simmer Down” followed by “Sammy Dead”, one tune after another gets pushed out to the crowed, and the crowd is responding, dancing and singing along, brilliant. Somebody gets a security guard to pass on a book and pen for Neville to sign, and he does it! He plays up to the cameras and the people, get’s everybody involved. I between breaks he explains a couple of times that he can’t jump about so much at the moment as he had an operation on his knee. They cover “Gansters”, ” Guns of Navarone”, “Ghost Town”…I’m loving this!
Once they finished their encore and the musicians go off stage, Neville stays behind and Jerry and Neol join him. Due to it being day 4, the last day of the Festival, thank you’s are being said, to Sean Flowerdew and Steve Nevard the organisers. They also invite Freddie Notes and Rico Rodriguez on stage, click here to see the speech, it is quite something to see all the guys on the same stage, I’m proud to say I was there!