RESPLENDENT in his tiger-striped overcoat, Buster Bloodvessel got the fanfare worthy of a Ska King on Saturday night. The drumming, the first sound Bad Manners made at Bridgwater’s Blake Hall, was thunderous; rolling wildly like some glorious war march.
And the crowd – flecked with Two-Tone hats, UV wristbands, tattoos and Doc Martins, already primed by a warm-up playlist of Otis Redding, The Specials and Desmond Dekker – was ready for them.
I’m here to make you dance!” cried Buster in his Hackney drawl, larger-than-life. “This ... is ... ska!”
Burrowbridge’s resident Bad Manners fans, Mike Nicholson and wife Caroline, who’ve “been fans forever,” were among those who seized that challenge.
Bad Manners’ music was made to be skanked to. With the slowest track of the set a cover of Frankie Valli’s Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, it’s little wonder Buster had the sweat streaming down his chops. That, and the effort of his high kicks, wagging his mammoth tongue at the audience, and shaking that derriere.
The heat came flying so rapidly off the crowd it was in danger of creating its own microclimate.
Walking In The Sunshine has got one of the most sublime brass-section refrains throughout the ska-revivalist cannon. The crowd got their fix of Lip Up Fatty, Lorraine, Nee Nee Na Na Na Nu, and Special Brew, of course.
I wonder what they would have made of it all across the corridor where Carnivalites from a host of clubs were celebrating the final night of their spread of ‘Old Folks’ Concerts for Bridgwater’s 60-plus community, with Gangnum Style disco.
FOR the full picture spread of photographs from the night, all taken by Cliff Taylor of Blink360 Photography, pick up this week's Mercury.