Supported by The Vermin Suicides
Eric’s, Mathew Street
31st March 2012
Music review by
We arrived at 8 and the club was already busy. I missed the original
Eric’s, but this one has all the ingredients of a good club –
a crowded sweaty cellar with friendly punters and a reasonably-priced bar.
The Vermin Suicides kicked off with some thumping chunky rock, carried
on with country blues, followed by punky rap, then back to solid rock.
This band has lots of attitude and rapport with their fans. Frontmen Paul
Robinson and Anton Le Verme are both fiery performers, powerfully backed
by Alec Joyce and Tony Whitehead on bass and drums. They sang from their
latest album and provided a great start to the evening.
Then the usual build-up of tension till The Selecter came on, welcomed
by a roar from a clubful of followers. All 8 members burst forth with
a perfect ska sound, full of energy and joy.
Pauline Black and Gaps Hendrickson, both superb performers with great
warmth, have a symbiotic singing and skanking partnership. Behind them,
keyboardist Greg Coulson danced like a demon while scorching up and down
the keys. Winston Marche on drums held the whole structure together, aided
by bass player The Emperor Mingus, whose deep rich notes laid down strong
foundations for the whole sound. Anthony Harty was the flamboyant guitarist,
leaping about while chunking out riffs. Neil Pyzer and Orlando la Rose
provided sexy saxophone sounds, occasionally turning to flutes.
The audience was a great mix – lots of big bald blokes pogoing
and yelling all the words: middle-aged couples nodding sedately, young
women in glamorous dresses, others with amazing hair and outfits to put
old-fashioned punks to shame.
The band played many old hits, including “Too much Pressure”,
“They make me Mad” and Fuck Art, let’s Dance”.
Also newer songs from recent album “Made in Britain”. Pauline
sang “Back to Black” in a moving tribute to Amy Winehouse.
The 2-hour long set built to a terrific climax with everyone singing “On
my Radio”, band and audience dancing wildly together.
In comments between songs, Pauline slated the ConDem government’s
attacks on poor people – “They’re Mad and they make
me Mad!,” and, referring to how The Selecter and other 2 tone bands
saw off the National Front in the early 80s, she asserted we cannot let
the EDL gain ground nowadays.
The Selecter are back at a crucial time: the same problems of racism,
unemployment and inequality are back in force. For me, the band’s
strength lies in its high quality danceable music linked to firm political
principles. As Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, it’s
not my Revolution!”