I knew this was going to be a special gig the moment I arrived outside the venue half an hour before doors open, and already there was a sizable queue of fully kitted out rude boys and rude girls!
It reminded me of how music and fashion used to be so intertwined. In a pre-internet age, before computer games and other distractions came along, music, fashion and football were the main entertainment on offer to the youth, so we them very seriously indeed.
It was good to see a range of ages dressing the part, from people old enough to remember the bands early performances, to teenagers.
The Positive Vibration DJs were on the decks when I entered the venue, and they really hit the spot playing the tunes the audience know and love, the audience were in top spirits with many already dancing.
I’ve never actually been to Liverpool’s Olympia before – it’s an impressive traditional building, and one I expect I will be returning before long.
The stage was decked out in Two-Tone styling, with The Selecter’s backdrop flanked by the Two Tone Man and Woman on either side.
As this was a joint headliner tour, the running order was swapped from night to night, so tonight it was the turn of The Selecter to open the show.
Pauline Black is still the perfect front woman, with Arthur ‘gaps’ Hendrickson the perfect side-kick, putting on a superb performance, that had the audience from front to back, skanking for England, as the band ran through their impressive catalogue of hits with even some newer tracks thrown in.
The Beat ft Ranking Roger
The Beat ft Ranking Roger (not to be confused with The Beat ft Dave Wakeling who were on Jools Hootenanny) were up next, with Ranking Roger as the only original member. Again, an impressive set of hits, and a particularly impressive cover of Rock The Casbah as a Joe Strummer tribute – which cranked the audience’s energy levels up another couple of notches from an already insane level.
It was a superb night, and a welcome break from Christmas songs and last minute shopping, but to be honest it would have been a great show at any time of year!
The tour continues in the New Year, so if you have a chance to go, don’t hesitate!
Words and Pictures by John King