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The Specials review: Iconic ska band sort out Saturday night for Mouth of the Tyne Festival

North Tyneside was bathed in 2-tone trendiness on Saturday as The Specials headlined a gig at Tynemouth Priory

Mouth of the Tyne Festival
****
The Specials live at the Mouth of the Tyne festival
The Specials live at the Mouth of the Tyne festival

Swirling wind, spitting rain and sweeping North Sea spray did little to dampen spirits at the Mouth of the Tyne Festival’s Saturday night main event.

Nor did it stop hundreds of music lovers from turning out in their 2-tone finery - Fred Perry and Dr Martens galore - to see an iconic band who straddled the seventies and eighties, The Specials.

After a 20-minute delay due to sound check issues, the gates opened, allowing a long snaking queue access into the grounds of Tynemouth Priory.

The sound of throbbing bass signalled the arrival of the ever-so-cool Roots Manuva in his role as support.

Despite facing the worst of the weather, the artist remained upbeat in his laid back style, playing a set of tracks from the past and present.

Highlights included Witness and Dreamy Days from second album, Run Come Save Me, and Let the Spirit and Buff Nuff from Slime and Reason.

Fans enjoy The Specials at the Mouth of the Tyne Festival
Fans enjoy The Specials at the Mouth of the Tyne Festival

As a big Specials fan himself, it was clear Roots - like almost everyone in the audience - was eagerly anticipating the main act’s performance.

Suspense then built as the stage was painstakingly prepared for the ska headliners, who opened with the instantly recognisable Ghost Town.

A lengthy intro saw lead singer Terry Hall drift onto the stage to join originals Horace Panter on bass, Lynval Golding on rhythm guitar and vocals, and John Bradbury on drums, as well as the more recent additions of lead guitarist Steve Craddock, trombonist Tim Smart, trumpeter Pablo Mandleson and Nik Torp on keyboards.

The energy in the crowd went through the roof and stayed there right until the final encore of Enjoy Yourself and You’re Wondering Now.

There was an obligatory sea of skanking skinheads knocking each other around - peaking at Monkey Man.

Lynval dedicated Rich Girl to Amy Winehouse who passed away in the month of July - also the month of his birth, which will see him turn 63 this year.

The front man also took the opportunity to poke fun at Newcastle’s underperforming football team, while Lynval was more complimentary of the city, stating that it has a place in his heart due to it hosting a reunion gig for the group in 2009.

His suggestion of buying a house in the North East was met with cheers on a night of unadulterated positivity and vibrancy.

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