“It floated on a tide of what was going on in society. If you think of songs that are expressly political like Robert Wyatt’s Shipbuilding, did its political content keep it from getting to the top of the charts and did Ghost Town sneak up there because it wasn’t overtly political? What’s being expressed in that song? Nothing’s happening, everything’s going down the pan, it’s that classic no future, nihilistic punk thing. Ghost Town might well have been the only punk number one.” Billy Bragg on The Specials’ Ghost Town
In 1981, Britain was in a state of crisis; unemployment was rife and the racially diverse inner cities were revolting against systematic ghettoisation at the hands of a Tory government. It was into this arena that The Specials released their doom-laden single, Ghost Town. A song that resonated so acutely with the youth of the day that it became THE anthem of urban decay and a future lost under Thatcher’s rule.
Thirty years later, with Thatcher on her deathbed and the inner cites of England once more ablaze, The Specials’ music has never sounded more vital.
Returning to New Zealand in April 2012, The Specials play a run of festival and headline theatre shows in Australia before finishing up in New Zealand on Tuesday 10th April at Shed 10, Queens Wharf in Auckland.
Forming in Coventry, on the outskirts of Birmingham, these ska revivalists took their danceable rocksteady beats with the energy and attitude of the punk era of the late 1970s in which they began, and combined them with an informed political and social stance. It was this genius juxtaposition of feverish ska rhythms and downtrodden melancholic melodies and lyrics that told a story of a generation who had been deemed surplus to requirements by their government.
Three decades on, in April 2009, when The Specials kicked off their sold out 30th Anniversary tour in the UK, nobody could have realised just how incredible these live shows would be, and the utterly amazing reaction of fans around the world. The audiences were packed with music lovers who had waited since 1981 to revisit this stunning band alongside Specials ‘virgins’ who had never had the chance to see them live. When the curtains dropped and Terry Hall, Lynval Golding, Neville Staple, Roddy Byers, Horace Panter and John Bradbury exploded on stage to ‘Do The Dog,’ dancehalls across the country erupted with new and old stomping as if their lives depended on it. 2012 sees a new show from the band, but expect all the classics we know and love.
Don’t miss The Specials’ return to Australasia this April.
TICKETS ON SALE WEDNESDAY 7th MARCH!
THE SPECIALS: SHOW DETAILS
Tuesday 10th April Shed 10, Queens Wharf, Auckland (R18)
www.ticketmaster.co.nz Ph 09 970 9700