THE SELECTER + RHODA DAKA + EMILY CAPELL – DE LA WARR PAVILION, BEXHILL 21.11.19
A typically wet and windy November night in Bexhill saw The Selecter visiting the sleepy Sussex seaside town for date 18 of 20 of their 40th anniversary tour of the UK.
There is something special about this iconic De La Warr building which continues to attract some big names and The Selecter obviously enjoyed their visit two years ago, when I caught them live for the very first time supporting The Beat, with the dearly departed Ranking Roger. The Selecter were particularly good on that occasion and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to see them again, though three gigs in six days and the inconvenience of work was beginning to take its toll on me. I only started attending concerts in Autumn 1981 and therefore missed the chance to see them first time round as they initially split up shortly afterwards, but still can’t believe that it took me 36 years to do so.
As this was a fairly late addition to my gig calendar, I hadn’t had a chance to listen to the support act Emily Capell, so I ventured into the land of the unknown for the second time this week having seen Orla Gartland on Tuesday. Emily’s onstage charisma is second to none and she made me chuckle from her first interaction with the crowd. She is political, cynical, observant, and fun, with an obvious love for Joe Strummer as he often pops up in her lyrics and chat, even her debut album is called ‘Combat Frock’. What is not to like about her? She even supports harmless QPR, having lived in West London and been to see them play on numerous occasions myself I am okay with that. I also loved her retro image and she reminded me of Mari Wilson with her Beehive hairstyle.
As for the actual music Emily’s influences are wide ranging, from ska to country, from folk to punk, from doo wop to good old fashioned pop music; the crossover is effortless. There are definite hints of the wonderful Kirsty McColl also. ‘No Worries’ is about people who wear band t-shirts, but don’t know who the band is; those who like Northern Soul, but don’t know the dance; and Man United supporters. At this point there was a cry of “Come on City” from a certain crowd member to which she retorted “you’re miles away”. Harsh treatment of someone who isn’t a glory hunter but easily laughed off.
Asking not to be judged, Emily explained that “I Found A Footballer To Marry Me” is about trying to find a premier league star as that is the only way she could afford to buy a house in London. A little dig at the WAGS and the easy ways of finding fame nowadays. Former local boy to her and ex-QPR player, Raheem Sterling got a mention due to the similar height, so if you are reading this Raz then check out Emily.
She isn’t scared to court controversy and apparently ‘Joey’ is a love song about outspoken footballer Joey Barton. There followed a little wind up from Emily as the band all walk offstage only for her to return immediately to perform ‘Ode To Uncle Moz’ on her own to show off her sparkling talent. A great song and despite her love of his music she has taken it upon herself to speak out about his demise into the abyss, even comparing him to Phil Collins. There are a lot of us out there who feel the same, including myself. Her comment about those regrettable Morrissey tattoos had me wondering just what her Nan looks like?!
Emily tried to get the crowd excited for the main act with a ‘Rewind Bo Selecta’ but it’s lost on an ageing Bexhill audience and the response is not as good as other venues, in fact it was pretty pathetic if the truth be told. Good luck with that one in Bournemouth! With the backing band looking smart in their pink and white striped shirts and even a tongue in cheek dance move which you tend to only get in manufactured bands nowadays, this was an entertaining set which went down well with the crowd.
Emily was even on the merch stall afterwards and was happy to have a photo taken with me. I realised that I was sitting on her CD’s and moved, but she was more concerned that I would fall off the table and she would have to laugh at me! I will definitely be catching up with her in the future and she is heading to The Hope and Ruin in Brighton as part of her headline tour next year on 27th February – grab your tickets HERE.
Tonight’s setlist reads:
‘101 Walterton Road’, ‘Ipso Calypso’, ‘No Worries’, ‘I Found A Footballer To Marry Me’, ‘Joey’, ‘Ode To Uncle Moz’, ‘Twisting On The Waves’, ‘Bonanza’.
Emily Capell are:
Emily Capell (vocals/guitar), Matt Cowley (drums), Steven Oates (bass), Kier Moore (guitar).
In between acts Rhoda ‘Ruder than you’ Dakar kept us entertained on the decks. With tracks ranging from ‘Uptown Top Ranking’ to ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ I would plump for my favourite tune that she played being ‘Son Of A Preacher Man’ by Dusty Springfield.
Warmed up nicely, it was the turn of The Selecter to take to the stage, with the youthful looking 66 year old Pauline Black and the only other surviving member from the 1979 line-up Arthur ‘Gaps’ Hendrickson, both on vocals. Lead singer and the undoubted Queen of the Ska Revival, Pauline Black was born Belinda Magnus in Romford, but The Selecter were formed in Coventry and were one of the main players in the ‘2 Tone’ scene synonymous with the city in the late seventies and early eighties. A great time to be a teenager and their first album is still present in my vinyl collection.
Pauline’s ‘comrade in arms, his Fred to my Ginger’, ‘Gaps’ took centre stage and impressed greatly for ‘The Avengers’ as we got up and running. It was a brilliant start to the set as we were then treated to three tracks from the first album with ‘Three Minute Hero’ getting the crowd going early on. This was followed by ‘Out On The Streets’ and ‘Everyday’, so tonight was promising to be another good set and I wasn’t disappointed. Apart from a slight lull in the middle of proceedings, which given they were onstage for about one hour and 45 minutes is kind of to be expected, they were on good form with a set pretty much encompassing all their career, and I can have no complaints as they played 8 tracks from the sole album of theirs in my possession. The band were tight and the vocalists were certainly enjoying themselves.
There was some powerful imagery on show on the backdrop including topics such as, racial tensions, HMT Empire Windrush and food banks, plus a lot of early images of The Selecter. For ‘Carry Go Bring Come’ which is Jamaican for somebody who gossips or tells lies, then who better than to have a photo of than our current Prime Minister with a Pinocchio nose.
We even had a rare live outing of the bands fifth single ‘The Whisper’ which apparently you can see on TOTP2. As always ‘On My Radio’ went down a storm. It peaked at number 8 in the Top 40 singles charts back in 1979, when record sales were high and it wasn’t so easy to get a number one, so this was a great achievement for a new band.
Then it was the turn of DJ for the night Rhoda Dakar to take stage and sing two songs from her days with The Bodysnatchers. This was a nice touch as the crowd enjoyed a good singalong to the double A-sided single ‘Ruder Than You’ and ‘Let’s Do Rocksteady’. She loves the building and commented that she thought she saw Poirot earlier on. You really must visit the De La Warr Pavilion to appreciate the structure.
Then it was time for The Selecter to re-join Rhoda for the stomping ‘Too Much Pressure’ mixed in with ‘Pressure Drop’ which never fails to get the crowd skanking. This was followed by ‘Madness’ which was one of the songs they would finish the ‘2 Tone Tour’ with and everyone in the crowd would join them onstage, but alas with health and safety those days are long gone.
To finish the evening we had a touching tribute to Ranking Roger who sadly passed away earlier this year. The Selecter toured twice with The Beat and had planned to do so again on this tour. The last song of the night was a cover version of The Beat’s cover of the Andy Williams song ‘Can’t Get Used To Losing You’. This was a sad and emotional end to a night which made me laugh, think about politics and our future, but ultimately left me with a tear in my eye and a heavy heart. Life is too short.
Post gig Pauline and Rhoda were both working the merch stall and gave up plenty of time for their fans which was a nice touch, especially given that some bloke named Olaf had travelled all the way from Cape Town such is their appeal.
The Selecter setlist reads:
‘The Avengers’ (from the album ‘String Theory’ 2013)
‘Three Minute Hero’ (from the album ‘Too Much Pressure’ 1980/ single reached number 16)
‘Out On The Streets’ (from the album ‘Too Much Pressure’ 1980)
‘Everyday’ (from the album ‘Too Much Pressure’ 1980)
‘Frontline’ (from the album ‘Daylight’ 2017)
‘Breakdown’ (from the album ‘Subculture’ 2015)
‘Celebrate The Bullet’ (from the album ‘Celebrate The Bullet’ 1981)
‘Murder’ (from the album ‘Too Much Pressure’ 1980)
‘Danger’ (from the album ‘Too Much Pressure’ 1980)
‘Facing Situations’ (from the album ‘Celebrate The Bullet’ 1981)
‘Missing Words’ (from the album ‘Too Much Pressure’ 1980)
‘Remember Me’ (from the album ‘Daylight’ 2017)
‘The Whisper’ (single reached number 36 in 1980)
‘See Them A Come’ (from the album ‘Subculture’ 2015)
‘Train To Skaville’ (B Side of ‘The Whisper’ 1980)
‘James Bond’ (from the album ‘Too Much Pressure’ 1980)
‘Carry Go Bring Come’ (from the album ‘Too Much Pressure’ 1980)
‘On My Radio’ (single reached number 8 in 1979)
‘Ruder Than You’ (The Bodysnatchers double A-side single reached number 22 in 1980) ‘Let’s Do Rocksteady’ (The Bodysnatchers double A-side single reached number 22 in 1980)
The Selecter & Rhoda Dakar:
‘Too Much Pressure’/’Pressure Drop’ (From the album ‘Too Much Pressure‘ 1980), ‘Madness’
‘Can’t Get Used To Losing You’
The Selecter are:
Pauline Black (vocals)
Arthur ‘Gaps’ Hendrickson (vocals)
Winston Marche (drums). Has his name on his drum set just so we don’t forget
John Robertson (guitar). Comes out when there is a full moon
Andrew Pearson (bass). He holds the rider!
‘Viscount’ Lee Horsley (keyboards)
Neil Pyzer-Skeete (tenor sax). Looked resplendent in his blue tonic suit
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