Ska had a real homecoming this month when Bad Manners played a pub in Hayes. DANIEL RIDER found frontman Buster Bloodvessel skinnier but still on top form
WHETHER you caught them the first time round, or were too young to be there, the news that Bad Manners were playing a handful of gigs in our fair borough came as a wonderful surprise for anyone interested in the ska and punk genres.
So off we went to one of their old haunts, the Kings Arms, Hayes, to catch them in action.
Suitably packed out with obvious fans, this was always going to be an immense occasion. The pub even seemed to have spruced itself up for the event, having recently been re-furbished.
But for the punters the night was only ever about one thing ...
"For anybody that doesn't know!" shouts Buster, to which the crowd roared back:
"This is ska!". Having not seen such fervent enthusiasm for a band in his pub for a while, bar manager Ricky Alsop was beaming from ear to ear, saying "This is just what Buster does. He gets them all going and gets them all involved. Absolutely brilliant."
In classic ska style, original tunes were not necessarily the core of the set. Cabaret classics gave rise to crowd participation, and the performance was all the better for it, proving easy to relate to if you were of a younger generation.
But, of course, the songs everyone came to hear had to be played, and backing band The Good, The Bad and the Ugly made them their own. Skaville UK sounded like it could be a current underground anthem, and the excellent bass line to Lorraine hits just as hard as ever.
The songs have such huge sing-a-long potential; it's not hard to see why Bad Manners were legends in their time.
Buster Bloodvessel looked leaner than anyone has probably ever seen him, but the showman has not mellowed with the years. Special Brew bites you, his charisma effortlessly winning you over (if you weren't already).
With the band storming through at a relentless pace, a moment was taken to see the joy on the crowds' faces, at the spectacle of the night. It was truly like being a kid again for some of them, and who would take that away from anyone?
With the set drawing to a close, an encore was inevitable. Cue Lip Up (Fatty) and the true spirit of the night really hits home.
It was just good clean ska. It's a reminder of the history of this area for good music - and long may it continue.