The Selecter, Gig Review. East Village Arts Centre, Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9.5/10

For three years on the spin The Selecter have made their way to Liverpool and given such dynamic performances that they are impossible to ignore, especially on a night when so much was going on with the confines of the city’s bustling streets.

The Selecter are one of the seminal bands of their genre and perhaps arguably one of the most iconic and much loved, mainly due to their front woman, Pauline Black, being such a positive role model, on all who ever meet her.

From the Liverpool Academy where they supported P.I.L. to the almost cavernous like feel of the East Village Arts Centre, the only thing that has changed is the venue, for everything else remained the same. The band, as soon as they stepped on stage at E.V.A.C., boomed louder than a Concorde plane being diverted across Crosby Beach at high tide and was more appreciated than Liverpool and Everton football clubs being given wild cards to the European Cup Final and then being told they could share the trophy.

It was one of those nights in Liverpool where the voyage of musical discovery was inundated with possible reflections and previously uncharted waters for many who take such things seriously.

With local favourites Alan O’ Hare and Me and Deboe supporting Miles Hunt and Erica Nockalls of The Wonderstuff upstairs at E.V.A.C. and a multitude of other bands performing away in aid of entertaining the cultural capital, there really was so much to possibly take in. However, for those who decided that the only thing to do on a day when the sun and the moon were about to commence their cosmic dance in the Earthlight, was to board the train to Skaville, the heat and energy being used by so many fans of The Selecter would have been enough to power a small village somewhere in Cornwall for at least a week.

This is where the band laid down the law, one simple rule; just to enjoy the sound of songs that captivated a generation and which paved the way for true multi-culturism, years before it became a fashionable buzz word to bandy around like hissing political football at the Westminster village.

Pauline Black should be seen as not just a pioneer but as a leading light in the fight against bigotry and the insanity that was handed down in some quarters after the war. To be still up on stage and being able to coerce so many different emotions out of an audience who perhaps 40 years ago and in a very different area of the country might have taken to task the music on offer, it really is no wonder that Ms. Black is right to be still vocal about the issue and in the song My England, that one beating heart is to be felt, congratulated and admired fully.

The band took their music out on stage and gave it the very best of airings. The showcasing of an urbane and refined public symphony that comes with tracks such as F**k Art Lets Dance, 3 Minute Hero, London’s Burning, See Dem A Come, the superb On My Radio, Missing Words and the pulsating Too Much Pressure, all were greeted with vitality, respect and the soft sound of a million trainers and shoes beating in time in true time-honoured Ska fashion.

This was a night out in a city that offers much in the way of music experiences on a weekly, perhaps even daily, basis that was a privilege for all inside E.V.A.C. to be part of.

Wonderfully outspoken, direct and full of charm and gratitude to the Liverpool fans who had made their way to the venue to see them. This was the best of all worlds and with nobody daring to contradict a living legend and her amazing band. Why would they? The Selecter are just absolutely right.


Ian D. Hall