CONCERT REVIEW: The Selecter 40th Anniversary Tour – QMU Glasgow 19th October 2019

Photo credit James Edmond 

Arriving at the QMU in the city’s university district in the west end of the city, within Glasgow University’s Student Union, the queue of eager fans waiting to gain entry to the venue to ensure the best viewing spot could be clearly seen spiralling up the street.   The venue having paid host to a huge amount of household names over the years, tonight, Pauline Black’s The Selecter are next up to add there name to the ever growing talent to roll into Glasgow. 

On entering the venue, Rhoda Dakar from The Bodysnatchers could be heard spinning the tunes, creating the perfect atmosphere in the build up to tonight’s show.

First up, was the excellent Emily Capell from London, walking onto the stage she looked a delicate woman, as soon as she started to play you could see there was much more in the engine room, a voice that grabs your attention and a skill to pull the audience into the show. You can see why she has won the Boisdale Music Awards 2018 best new comer. She has the power and the songs that captured a generation, playing in a rockabilly / country style on her Gretsch guitar.  She powered through the opening numbers, to gain the attention she wanted, and obtained, entranced by her presence, she shared stories about her life and about living in London. She was very open and made you part of her life story. In a rockabilly style she played a beautiful “Brixton Prison”. This was followed by her story about her ambition to be a footballer’s wife, and get the house she wanted in the expensive west London.  She sang with strong lyrics and passion “I Wish I had Married a Footballer”, going onto share her love of football, chatting about the days results, and how she is a Tottenham Hotspur supporter, further acknowledging that Glasgow is a football city, from a woman that knew her sport whilst also being a talented singer / songwriter, she won over even more of a following. Stand out songs from her set “Twisting”, “Who killed Smiley Culture?” and the foot tapping and catchy song “Bonanza”, she explained this song was about the plane that Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper were tragically killed in named “Bonnaza”. She is a lyrical genius with song titles that stand out from the rest, beautifully written lyrics that blend perfectly with the stage presence, from the talented Emily Capell, she is one to watch out for at a venue close to you. She picked up her guitar and left the stage to a rounding applause from the Glasgow audience.

A short break with Rhoda Dakar spinning the tunes to entertain the audience between the sets, continued to build the atmosphere before The Selecter take to the stage.

The Lights dimmed, the intro is coming through the PA system, this was the time to welcome Pauline Black and The Selecter to the stage, one by one they took up their positions, and the delightful Pauline Black greeted the Glasgow audience, before the opening chords of “The Avengers Theme”, as Arthur ‘Gaps’ Hendrickson warmed up with his stage presence the crowd was ready for one ska party, that was generated with “Three Minute Hero”, the venue was skanking and singing along word for word with Pauline. Playing through a strong opening set featuring “Out on the Streets”, “Time Hard” a cover from George Dekker then the awesome “Frontline”, Gaps and Pauline had the crowd in their hands, the 40th Anniversary tour had surely left its mark on Glasgow, but this was only the beginning.  

With hit after hit they made their way through “Murder”, “Celebrate the Bullet” before the excellent “Missing Words”, with the powerful vocals of Pauline Black, this had the Glasgow audience raising the roof off the venue, “The Whisper” stood out from the first half of the set before the onslaught of singing along to the songs started with the excellent cover of The EthiopiansTrain to Skaville”. The Smiling Pauline Black was enjoying every minute dancing along with Gaps and celebrating what is a wonderful time on the 40th Anniversary tour.

The venue was hot and sweaty, the crowd dancing and voices raised with singing to The Selecter’s hits, it was nearing that time in the set when it was going to draw to a close, but not before “On My Radio” had the place rocking.  The band then welcomed Rhoda Dakar to join them, her  DJ’n set in the build-up was superb,  it was now time to hear her powerful vocals on The Boysnatchers classic “Let’s do Rock Steady”, before the excellent mashup of “Too Much Pressure”  with “Pressure Drop” thrown in for good measure. The party was coming to a close, the band and Rhoda provided the entertainment, it was now time for Glasgow to lend their vocals to the closing songs featuring Rhoda Daker on the Prince Buster classic “Madness”.  Pauline, Gaps and Rhoda dancing along with the crowd, gave an energised finale filled with passion.  It was time for one last song from the band before Glasgow’s party of the 40th Anniversary tour was over. The band finished up with Doc Pomos cover of “Can’t Get Used to Losing You”, featuring Rhoda, it was a great way of finishing an epic night of music.

With Glasgow crowd singing along, the band know they will never lose them, they will be eagerly awaiting the next stage of the Ska juggernaut to arrive in the city.

The Selecter

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Rhoda Daker

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Emilly Capell

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Review and Photography by James Edmond