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Review: Radio Clash and Neville Staples

Lifestyle / Tue 17th Feb 2015 at 08:54pm

By Jo O’Reilly

Review: Radio Clash At The Harlow Playhouse

I never got the chance to see The Clash play on their 1977 tour, for a start I was born an entire decade too late, but it was by all accounts an iconic and chaotic explosion of music, politics and…spit, there was a lot of spitting apparently.

What Radio Clash are supposedly offering is a little slice of 1977, but actually it’s far too sanitised. There is none of the swagger or stage presence The Clash were famous for. I can’t quite imagine The Clash having been able to play their own songs as well as this on tour. If you’re just looking to hear the music you know played live, then this is the show for you. You won’t really feel like you were there, but then you wont risk hepatitis from stray saliva ether.

The unexpected highlight of the evening came in the form the support from Neville Staples of The Specials and his band, fitting as it was on the 1977 tour with The Clash that then roadie Staples landed his first gig with The Specials.

The Jamaican born and Coventry raised original rude boy and his band worked their way through the hits of The Specials without attempting to emulate the energy of 1977. Something Staples eluded to himself as he introduced Monkey Man, ‘I used to swing around the rafters to this.’

Despite his many documented health problems in recent years, Staples had a car crash in 2011 and left a reunion of The Specials in 2013 citing health problems, his voice and stage presence are still as compelling as ever.

Neville Staples and his band provide a chance to hear one of the most distinctive voices of the British music scene, play some great songs in a stripped back and low-key way, far better fitting the atmosphere and the audience on a Sunday night at Harlow Playhouse.

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