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Live review: The Neville Staple Band @ The Venue (18/08/2017)

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Joy. Pure Joy.

Neville StapleIn surmising Neville Staple’s latest performance in Derby those three words would suffice, it really is that simple.

The sweaty confines of The Venue exploded into a skanking, full on celebration of the enduring power of ska, in particular our very British Two Tone brand of the classic Jamaican sound.

Following his departure from The Specials reunion trail (the classic band he was original vocalist for) Staple has again found a new lease of life and calling with his own The Neville Staple Band, who, on stage, play like a family unit and deliver the goods every time. In fact, his own wife Christine provides backing vocals.

The set opened with new cut ‘The Return of Judge Roughneck’ from his blinding new album of the same name before running through a set of ska classics, new numbers and highlights from his career.

Staple’s own energy on stage may not be as wild as days gone by, but he is still a captivating performer who brought his own flavour to each tune and entertained with his humour in between songs. The band also were note perfect and their infectious, jubilant approach emanated from the stage boosting the crowds own enjoyment.

Everyone from front to back exploded into pure skanking joy more and more as the gig progressed with the classic chant of ‘Rude Boy, Rude Boy’ getting louder with each interlude. Nothing, not time, not age, not fashion or fads, can diminish the unifying nature of Two Tone, and Staple is one of (if not the) best proponent of it.

The Specials tunes sounded immense, with ‘Gangsters’, ‘Do The Dog’, ‘Too Hot’ and ‘Little Bitch’ all causing a ruckus. The other highlights were largely reserved for ska classics like ‘ A Message To You Rudy’, ‘Johnny Too Bad’ and ‘Monkey Man’ but this was no where near the full depth of the set.

A full-on ska reworking of ‘The Lunatics Are Taking Over The Asylum’ from Staple’s post Specials pop trio Fun Boy Three was brilliant, but the absolute pinnacle was unrivalled, chart-topping classic ‘Ghost Town’ which had the whole everyone in the venue in full voice.

This gig, in short, was a testament to how much fun live music can be and was the most fun it is possible to have.

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