Now I have to be honest, given the choice of sitting in a field with 125,000 of the hunter welly wearing brigade, swopping anecdotes about how much I’d always wanted to see Kylie, or worse still sitting at home watching the BBC sanitized version moaning about how I’d missed out on taking out a second mortgage to buy tickets in the faint hope there’d be someone there I liked, there was only ever going to be one winner tonight. Lets get Skanking to a night of Ska punk, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones bringing the party to the o2 in Bristol.
Walking in to the o2 about ten minutes to start, I’ll be honest I was just a little bit nervous for the Preachers, to say it was sparsely populated would be an understatement. Worries however were short lived, by the time the Bar Stool Preachers hit the stage we had a more than sizeable audience, vastly different to the last time I caught them in the Exchange. Right from the off you can see that the months on the road have sharpened things up, they sounded huge!!! You can’t help but dance, with Tom, the demented ringmaster presiding over the maelstrom of noise. Now I’ve followed the bar Stool Preachers since they were a twinkle in Tom’s eye, reviewed both their LP’s and watched them change and adapt and grow going from an out and out party band into a politically charged machine (The guys arrived from a guerilla gig outside No10) and the place exploded when a personal fave from Grazie Governo “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out” was dedicated to probably the most inept prime minister Britain has ever endured, that is until Boris rides in on his white charger, put in place by the fcking idiots who vote Tory!!!
As the band have grown in confidence the sound has developed, the message getting stronger and stronger, I turned to Johnny H and said “They’ve been listening to too much Steel Pulse” (How far off the mark am I TJ McFaul?) After all Ska came out of the dancehall, mutated into Roots Reggae and there isn’t a genre more politically charged. A rapidly swelling crowd got more and more into the band and the whole place, looking round had a huge smile on its face and no doubt some dodgy knees this morning, Trickle Down, One Fool Down, Bar stool preacher, set the tone, but the newer stuff played tonight has the potential to put them in the shade. I for one can’t wait to catch them in Clwb Ifor Bach on September 21st
Next up we had a band I’d caught live in Camden Underground Sonic Boom Six and in fairness at that gig they really brought the noise and the party it was mental, but tonight I’m not sure if that sound translated into a bigger venue, there was a definite struggle for an identity present and I wonder how much management have become involved? They just didn’t seem the same band, or maybe it was just down to the fact that the Bar Stool Preachers had blown my mind, but where the one band is pushing forward, the other seems to be changing direction and not quite sure which way to go. Both bands loosely tied together by the word Ska.
Now The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are a band I caught way bag in the day and if memory serves me right they played the Cheap Sweaty fun’s 10th anniversary gig originally scheduled for Tj’s but displaced to The Irish club after a difficult personal circumstance for Tj’s owner John Sicolo.
They were Fckin awesome then and tonight watching them sober they haven’t changed a bit and the party atmosphere just grew and grew, we had skanking, we had dancing, we had crowd surfing everything a proper gig needs and it was relentless, the o2 getting hotter and hotter, going thermo-nuclear way before the end. Before you even realized we were an hour plus in and tracks like “Someday I suppose”, the cover of the Wailers “Simmer Down”, “the Rascal king”, “The Punchline” had all flown by. These guys are the consummate professionals and all nine of them, yup nine on one stage made movement look so effortless as they changed positions, danced off and brought the brass section to the fore. What a performance. Now if I had to pick a winner tonight it would have to be The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, they are a real heavyweight in the Ska punk division, been there done it got the T-shirt, but there is a young contender from Brighton coming up through the ranks very quickly.
Great night did I miss Glastonbury? Not in a million fckin years and tonight for once sound was spot on for all the bands, happy days.
Author: Nev Brooks