The Specials

by Will Gamble

The Specials are one of the most influential groups that there has ever been. Formed in Coventry in 1977, they are a two-tone ska revival band with a punk edge. Originally called Speckial AKA their aim was to integrate black and white people, attempting to put an end to racism within music and further afield.

Their mod-style was extremely important in the meteoric rise in the late 70s. It consisted of 1960s period rude boy outfits; pork pie hats, mohair suits, braces and loafers. The most poignant moment in their career was the release of hit single Free Nelson Mandela, which was sung from the nightclubs of Coventry to the streets of Johannesburg. Following this single, founder Jerry Dammers dissolved the band to pursue political activism.

Lead singer Terry Hall reformed the band for a one off performance at Bestival in 2008, followed by a UK tour the next year which sold out in a matter of hours. Their performance at V Festival that summer is regarded as one of their greatest with a guest appearance from the late, great Amy Winehouse. With a revolving line up, drummer Gary Powell from The Libertines has stepped in for this tour due to the sudden death of founding member John Bradbury.

With a discography full of sing-a-long feel good anthems and this being their first performance in the South West since they reformed, this is not one to be missed!