Date: June 9th, 2017
Opening Band: The Far East
The Specials have returned to New York after just playing Terminal 5 back in September 2016. Two Specials shows in the matter of a year, I’ll take it! Even though there are only 3 original members in the band, they still sound great and worth seeing!
Originally, I was supposed to see the band headline the first day of Punk Rock Bowling down in Asbury Park but I had to cancel those plans when my Grandmother-In-Law was having her 90th birthday that night. So thankfully the Specials were playing the night before so I was able to go to that one. My last show was Jesus and Mary Chain at Brooklyn Steel, the same venue. For being a new venue, I noticed some bathroom doors broken already. I really like the venue and it’s not that far from the L train. Ten times better than Terminal 5 because wherever you stand, you’ll be able to see most of the stage.
Just like the last Specials tour on the East Coast, Brooklyn’s own The Far East opened up for them and got the crowd warmed up. The band started out with their more mellow-ier rocksteady music. Maddie Ruthless has such a unique singing style. Not sure if the entire crowd liked the band but I dig their stuff. I particularly liked their material towards the end where they broke out some killer reggae and more upbeat stuff. The Frightnrs’ JonnyGoFigure came out again and that was the highlight of their set. They have a few songs on Spotify to check out but still waiting for a full length album.
The Specials came out to “Ghost Town,” which I believe is what they came out with last time. Hey, I’m all for that since it leaves me longer time in the photo pit. Like the previous tour, the Specials started off with the slower material before gradually going to the faster stuff mid-way through the set. Playing guitar this time was Jake from the Manchester band Cupids. After “Ghost Town,” they played “Friday Night, Saturday Morning,” and “Do Nothing.” Lynval has taken up the mantle of a lot more singing, since Neville isn’t playing with the band anymore. He also looks like he’s having the most fun on stage, dancing around and pointing to the crowd. He’s the opposite Terry, who always looks like he’s dreading being there. Having those different attitudes makes for some funny banter in between songs though. Lynval mentioned putting Trump in Riker’s Island, Terry dryly puts it “he’s doing a wonderful job….Nah fuck it, he’s terrible.” Or something along those lines.
Other highlights in the beginning included “Rat Race,” “Why” and Lynval covering Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song.” I never saw them do that before so that was a nice surprise! From my point of view in the back, that got the most cell phones filming than any other song. Yes, this day and age, people don’t raise lighters, they raise phones. After that they played songs like “Nite Klub,” “Dawning of a New Era” and “Do The Dog.” By that point of the show, the whole crowd was dancing wherever they were. I was by the back, dancing and enjoying every minute. Towards the end of the set, they played “Message to you, Rudy,” “Monkey Man,” and “Little Bitch.” Those are some of my favorites from The Specials but I would say the majority of this set was just great. I like how they start off with slower, reggae style songs and then go the faster stuff later on when the crowd is warmed up. They finished the set up with “Too Much Too Young” and “Enjoy Yourself.” They came back after a few minutes of taking a breather to play “Guns of Navarone” and then finished up their encore with “You’re Wondering Now.”
It’s always great to see The Specials, despite the revolving door of members coming and going throughout the years. I’d love it if all the surviving members could work out their differences and play music together but I doubt that will ever happen again. The current lineup is strong though and if you see The Specials, you’re in for a great night of music and dancing!
All my photos will be on SkaPunkPhotos.com soon