The Selecter at Islington Assembly Hall
Pop-ska, 2-tone legends, The Selecter reunited two years ago on the 30th anniversary of their bestselling album Too Much Pressure, which brought the world such classics as On My Radio, Missing Words and Three Minute Hero. Over the last two years the band has toured, rebuilt their fan base and recorded a new album, String Theory, comprised of ten new songs.
Following a tour of Australia in November 2012, The Selecter are currently in the midst of a 20 date tour of the UK promoting their new album, their past and their future. Perplexingly, there are two incarnations of the band: after an amicable split, the two leaders, Neol Davies and Pauline Black reformed independently in 2010, with two separate bands both called The Selecter. Both would perform the band’s original music and, confusingly, tour at the same time. In June 2011 Pauline Black gained the trademark for The Selecter and now owns the name outright.
Saturday night’s lineup was huge. The stage at Islington Assembly Hall was crammed full, with two trumpeters (Neil Pyzer-Skeete and Orlando LaRose), Greg Coulson on keyboard, Winston Marche on drums and Anthony Harty and John Thompson on electric and bass guitar respectively. They were joined by the two lead singers, Arthur “Gaps” Hendrickson and of course Pauline Black.
The performers were consistently accomplished, crafting and exemplifying the classic ska 2-tone sound in each and every song. However, this is where they both triumph and fall, as although Black (the song writer) is talking about reinventing and developing the band, it all sounds – and fundamentally is – the same: ska is ultimately a limited genre.
After the opening three songs, Black introduced London’s Burning, giving the song gravitas by explaining that it was about riots and revolution – yet it was the same 2-tone sound of the previous offerings, the only difference being in the lyrics, which were unfortunately almost impossible to hear over the multitude of band members. The audience loved it nonetheless, bopping and jumping to the hypnotic rhythm.
If you want a night of energetic trance-inducing dancing to ska music, The Selecter is your best bet. They are, if anything, consistent.
Photos: Dimitris Amvrazis
For further information and future events visit The Selecter’s website here.
Watch The Selecter performing London’s Burning here: