From The Specials Featuring Neville Staple and Christine ‘Sugary’ Staple
The Valley, Birmingham
19 September 2021
Being a homecoming Midlands show, this jam-packed open-air concert was an emotional post lockdown event ‘From The Specials’ for completists to new fans alike.
From the get-go, the enthusiastic crowd could not fail to be mesmerised by the mercurial Neville Staple, as his idiosyncratically charismatic glow adorned the stage alongside ‘Christine Sugary Staple’ and their incredible collective of versatile musicians.
Kicking off with a magnificent reworking of the classic Gangsters before morphing into a raucous rendition of the Bob Marley classic Simmer Down, Staple had the baying crowd eating from the palm of his hand.
Whilst remaining true to the classic two-tone sound, the band avoided convenient categorisation in a dense thicket of classic ska and reggae, tinged with undertones of new wave, blue beat and rockabilly. As they treated the audience to reworked classics such as the pertinently relevant Concrete Jungle which as opposed to proselytising from the church of disenfranchised youth provided a foot-stomping, rousing rendition of the Roddy Radiation penned opus much to the delight of one and all.
Upping the anti-further, the crowd literally went ballistic, as Neville Staple burst into the timeless crowd-pleaser Ghost Town which has his idiosyncratic unique phrasing and lyrical stamp all over it, causing the crowd to enthusiastically join in with the famous phrase, ‘This town is coming like a ghost town’.
Ringing the changes, Christine ‘Sugary’ Staple went down a storm as she launched into the infectiously catchy and upbeat live favourite Original Rude Girl Sound‘which surely with dedicated promotion, could become a worldwide standard.
Next up, feverously fabulous renditions of reimagined Fun Boy Three classics such as Farmyard Connection and The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum brilliantly belted out by the band whilst remaining true to the lyrical ethos, whilst adding a spark of surprise to the proceedings.
However, for me, the cornerstone of the set was the Neville Staple ‘staple’ Monkey Man for which he received a Brit award, memorably presented by long term Specials fan and collaborator the late great Amy Winehouse.
To my mind, this is by far the best lineup from The Specials and a tremendous testament to the fact that the enigmatically effervescent Neville Staple, is nothing less of an evergreen legend.
Although the brilliant UB40 and Beverly Knight, also on the bill, turned in mighty fine performances, in my opinion, From The Specials featuring Neville Staple and Christine ‘Sugary’ Staple were clearly the catch of the day!
Click here to witness a fantastic ska reworking of the classic John Lennon song ‘IMAGINE’ From The Specials
OUT NOW ON ONE MEDIA IP VIA THE ORCHARD