The Daily Ska Something Special

Special Brew, Bulls Head, Saturday 21st February 2004

Living in Coventry, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the days when you could go and see a real live Ska band right on your doorstep, and when you could actually party to the sounds that put the city on the musical map, were a long time finished. But this is Coventry’s cultural heritage and last Saturday the hundreds of people that packed into the Bulls Head got a dose of just what they needed, a taste of Special Brew. 

This impressive eight-piece outfit may have just started on their musical quest to put Ska and the hits of 2-Tone back in the nation’s hearts but this band contains a wealth of musical talent and experience and the result is a live show well worth seeing.
Herb and Stan
Rudy From the Specials’ Gangsters to the Bad Manners interpretation of My Girl Lollipop, the audience were treated to hit after hit for over 90 minutes and they loved it. Madness, The Selecter, and The Beat all featured and the hits of '79 sound great amongst original Ska classics like the Maytal’s Monkey Man and Jimmy Cliff’s ‘You can get it if you really want it’.

Specials’ guitarist Roddy Radiation even turned up and was treated to a set which included four of the Specials singles including Rat Race, the 1980 top ten hit that he’d written himself.
At the front, vocalist Stan, guitarist Rudy and bassist Herbert bounce around and do a great job in getting the crowd upon their feet and dancing. The powerful backbeat provided by Don Nothing is complemented by the swirling organ sounds of Harry Hammond. But for me, the icing on the cake comes from the band’s brass section, consisting of Sally Brown & Rick Reed on saxophones and Jay Walker on trombone and trumpet. 


All in all this was a night to remember, and I reckon those who were there were probably still humming the songs the next morning. It’s been a long time, but 2-Tone just came home, at least for one night anyway.