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Friday, 31 May 2013

The Specials - Barrowlands - 09/05/13 (Glasgow)

They say that history repeats itself and I have seen no evidence to disprove that.
Instead when The Specials played the first night of two in the Barrowlands Ballroom in Glasgow what we got was that statement firmly hammered home.
Formed in 1977 they went on to reflect very eloquently much of what was wrong with the era.
Through a brutally honest assessment of their surroundings they managed to strike a chord with many that reverberates down through the years and still makes complete sense in the present.
Especially as it would appear that we have come full circle and history does appear to be repeating itself right now.
The casual racism, the tribal idiocy of some, and the economic disaster that was ushered in by a Conservative government were all tackled back then, and now here we are in 2013, and if you swap Thatcher to Cameron, the National Front to the EDL, the West Indian community for the Muslim community then we have an eerie overlap.
The faces change, but to an extent it's the t-shirt slogan of 'Same Shit, Different Day' writ large over us all.
So with this in mind it has to be said that as The Specials have the material that is as relevant now as it ever was, then all they had to do to impress was to make sure that it sounded solid in the here and now.
Not a tall order really, but even though I fully expected them to be good my high expectations still didn't come close to the reality.
After a very long wait for them to appear (Doors opened at seven and the band came on just after nine) all was forgiven when they launched into their set.
It' was a breath snatching performance that rarely let up.
The heat actually became tremendous as a sold out crowd exerted enough kinetic energy to power a small town for a week.
If you could harness the energy and loop it back to run the sound system then there would have been been no need to use any in-house electrics.
Technically you couldn't honestly fault them.
Between the band and the audience it was as if we were all in a race to the finish line and it would definitely be a photo finish.
Highlight of the evening for me was strangely enough the big hit of Ghost Town.
I've always rated it, but there was something about it being played live that charges it with a great deal more meaning.
While there was no fighting on the dance floor that I seen it's a fact that when I visit my own town centre that I can say that 'this town is coming like a ghost town'.
While it would be easy to lay claim to the band benefiting from the nostalgia market you would be hard pushed to find a band from that era playing the same material and it still maintaining the same cultural relevance and punch.

It was definitely a bucket list gig for me, but one I would be happy to tick off again and again.

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