Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Stop Your Messing Around

WELL, IT'S JOLLY DOWN to the big Specials show tonight at Terminal 5. That's right, 6 of the original 7 members are back and touring, playing some festivals, some New York dates, and they'll be back for a free show this summer at Central Park (August 22). Try to make the scene before the scene makes you.

In all honesty, somehow I wasn't all that pumped for the show until I read a piece this morning in amNewYork, one of the local free papers. Then it hit me: It's the FUCKING SPECIALS, Man -- the Ska originators of classics like Message To You Rudy, Concrete Jungle, Too Much Too Young, Monkey Man, Do the Dog and my personal favorite Gangsters -- and that's just from their first album, the damn-near-perfect 1979 masterpiece produced by Elvis Costello. They've released records since then with the "new" lineup -- everyone except for Jerry Dammers, admittedly a huge part of the band as chief songwriter and keyboard player, as well as the driving force behind 1984's In the Studio, basically the last release by the first incarnation of the band. But even without Dammers, 6 out of 7 ain't bad.

I never got to see them live the first time around, in their prime. Remember showing up to Hurrah's hoping to get in one night around 1980-81, but no dice. Hurrah's was a small club to begin with, holding maybe 300 souls, so it was futile on my part to show up that night sans tickets expecting to get in. I did see The Specials in 1994, though, at Irving Plaza, and as I've written it was one of the most enjoyable shows in my long musical existence -- audience and band alike feeding off each other like few concerts I've been a part of. That was over 15 years ago now, which itself was about 15 years after their first record. Funny how it all worked out.

So I expect nothing less than a brilliant performance from the band, playing the first of their two nights at Terminal 5, a venue I've never been to. My friend Steve has been giving me a hard time for choosing The Specials over The Thermals, a good new band which are also playing tonight -- calling it Arena Rock and an exercise in nostalgia. But I disagree with him on this one. Legends are legends for a reason, and you shouldn't pass up an opportunity to see one before they go the way of all flesh. As guitarist Lynval Golding put it, "Six people wanted to celebrate 30 years of The Specials, while Jerry wanted to do his own band. Now we're all doing what we want to do. Democracy worked." Amen to that. Meanwhile, Enjoy Yourself, It's Later Than You Think!



Nazz Nomad said...

i want a full report!

jimithegreek said...

lyle love it

The Aparatus said...


"A message to you Rudy" was written by Dandy Livingstone in 1967 entitled "Rudy A Message To You". "Monkey Man" by Toots & the Maytals is from 1969. So to say The Specials are originators of ska or said songs is wrong. Ska started towards the end of the 50's, it's prime years in the early to mid 60's in Jamaica.

You should go over your post for errors with a little less bong smoke clouding the screen. Pull your head out of yer ass buddy. Love the page and blog otherwise. Good shit all around, I am fan. Now I'm going to go practice rolling a cigarette with just my lips. please excuse me.

Sincere Ties A Flow... Ur Buddy,
Mr. Caterpillar Man III