Neville Staple

Neville Staple From the Specials Neville Staple
Live Rooms Chester
October 13th 2022

Two Tone Legend Neville Staple delivers a night of Specials, Fun Boy 3 and Ska classics.

To those absent, it was a Thursday in front of the telly. For those of us present, it was the ranking, skanking ska shot in the arm that was much needed. Ska Royalty was in town in the shape of Rude Boy Neville Staple and Rude Girl, the effervescent Christine “Sugary” Staple. But first, providing an adrenalin-fuelled support slot was Buster Shuffle, making a seriously impressive debut in Chester. Led by the irrepressible Jet Baker, a man who is buzzing so much that hyperactivity is his rest mode, they waste no time in shaking the venue’s foundations with their infectious blend of Ska-Punk. Buster Shuffle are a serious proposition and, having supported the likes of Madness and Chas and Dave in the past, they know how to whip up a crowd. The set kicks off with Brothers and Sisters, their cheery song about divorce and includes the chaotic confessional of Our Night Out, a madcap medley of Chas and Dave classic snippets among others and the excellent We Fall to Pieces.  They deliver a superb finish with Sucker Punch Blues from their new album Go Steady and Buster Shuffle are definitely a group to catch if you get the chance.

However, the stage is now set for the main man and, as his excellent band begin playing, he appears to a rousing welcome and launches straight into Gangsters, The Specials’ first single. From the opening bars, the beauty and importance of Ska and the Two-Tone Label are there for all to see. No lectures here about the cultural significance of that movement, I think the phrase is “fuck art, let’s dance” and that’s exactly what people are doing tonight. Skins, Rude Boys, Rude Girls and Mods are all well at it and one can only marvel at the tenacity of some of the knee ligaments that have been smuggled into the venue this evening.

With a back catalogue of Specials originals, and covers they made their own, plus a smattering of Fun Boy 3 songs, Nev is on fertile ground. Little Bitch, Do The Dog, A Message to You Rudy and raucous crowd-pleaser, Monkey Man, are fired out in the requisite style, while The Farmyard Connection and The Lunatics (Have Taken Over the Asylum) are a great reminder of the short-lived brilliance of the Fun Boy 3. With the brass section in full cry, Christine “Sugary” Staples a livewire presence with Original Rude Girl Sound and outstanding guitarist, Billy Shinbone, who has even got shoes to match his guitar; this is a high-octane spectacle.

As we near the end, Nev points out that it is over forty years since Ghost Town, one of the greatest Number One Singles of all time, was released yet is still so relevant. As with so many of the great songs of this era, that is sadly the case. Anyway, if you still wanna dance, try Concrete Jungle, teen-disco favourite Nite Klub, and Skatalites classic, The Guns of Navarone before coming gently back to Earth with You’re Wondering Now. Superb band, superb night.

From the Specials, Neville Staple are on Facebook Twitter and their website is

All words by Dave Jennings. More from Dave can be found at his Louder Than War Author Archive. He is also on Twitter

Photo by Melanie Smith – Louder Than War | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Portfolio

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