THE BOURNEMOUTH INTERNATIONAL CENTRE.
THURSDAY, 27 OCTOBER 2011
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30 years since Ghost Town, the rude boys return
Dr. Martens, skinny jeans and trilby hats pile into the BIC. The crowd may be a little older, as are the band, but from the moment The Specials take to the stage it’s obvious that their controversy-filled music is still as relevant as ever.
As the group launch into their first number, Gangsters, an image of Margaret Thatcher looms behind the Coventry seven-piece, instantly met by a chorus of heckling boos. But The Specials know just as well as the crowd that the “government leaving the youth on the shelf” and “ghost towns” of which they sing are not lyrics stuck in the past. An image of David Cameron emerges behind the band and is soon greeted by the same bitter reaction.
As the set evolves, the crowd throws themselves into the music as if no time has elapsed since the group’s first hits. A reinvented recital of A Message To You Rudy sends the room into spiraling chants. While hits such as Too Much Too Young and Rat Race create appreciative uproar.
The Specials’ music still rings clear today and it’s irrefutable that their talent has yet to waiver. Donning crisp, black suits and hats they entrance the crowd from start to finish as if it was 1980.
The Specials are now set to play alongside Blur and New Order in London’s Hyde Park on August 12, 2012.