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Special Beat
Ska’d In Sydney DVD

Written by Jesse Hayward

Having attended an energy-packed gig at the Gaelic Club featuring Rankin’ Roger of The Beat and Neville Staple of The Specials, I was excited to review the DVD Special Beat: Ska’d in Sydney.

This footage was recorded on the Legends of Ska Australian Tour which also featured Pauline Black of The Selecter. The ska revival that these bands authored became the English 2 Tone movement which still echoes through the British music underground, influencing genres like grime and DnB as well as modern ska and punk bands.

The DVD is simple – no menus, no intros. Insert the disc and you jump straight into the beginning of the show; Neville Staple in trad mod suit and hat, soaking up the adulation from the audience.

Beginning with man at C&A, Neville stomps and strips through some Specials classics such as monkey man, do the dog and message to you rudi. Pauline Black appears on stage to provide vocals for the later Specials hit ghost town. By the end of this song Neville is off the stage, pulling off his shirt as a gift for a girl in the audience before jumping back on stage to give it up for Pauline Black.

Pauline keeps the energy running high with 3 minute hero before lowering it again with missing words. The ‘original rudegirl’ still captivates the audience and dresses impeccably. From her solo set of six tracks, my favourites are carry go bring come and on my radio, but fans will love train to skaville and celebrate the bullet just as well.

Rankin’ Roger takes to the stage dressed in something a goth might wear under the influence of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and leaps straight into it with hands off she’s mine before dancing his way through hits like tears of a clown, save it for later and ranking full stop. Roger’s vocal cords still work perfectly and his performance is the most impressive of all three.

Finally all three stars take to the stage to perform a five song encore of tracks from all three bands. The energy on stage for this section of the gig is fantastic and the audience go wild for it. A fitting end to a good night, it seems.

The only thing missing from this DVD is a little bit of backstage footage, or some interviews. The sound is fine, though not absolutely amazing, with not enough bass in some sections. The DVD contains 25 tracks in total, which is 25 classic 2 tone hits, so the DVD is well worth it for fans of these three bands. Overall, if you love Staple, Rankin and Black, get the DVD!

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