If you were the kind of person that went to ska and punk gigs back in the late 90s, chances are you saw King Prawn. Chances are you saw the band a lot. There was a period when they seemed to support anyone and everyone. No matter how many times they appeared on a bill, though, they were always entertaining…and once seen, nobody could ever forget bassist Babar Luck’s distinctive presence.
The band split in 2003 but reformed nine years later without Luck. The idea of a King Prawn without him seemed odd at first, especially since he was such an integral part of the original band’s live show, but it was good to have them back. Showing off a more commercial side, King Prawn’s 2014 comeback single ‘Done Days’ was, in some ways, a lacklustre return to studio work, but five years on, the long-awaited full length ‘The Fabulous New Sounds of King Prawn’ is a marked improvement.
Neville Staple is a man who needs no introduction. A pivotal member of the original Specials and a pivotal figure from the UK’s second wave of ska, Staple has long been considered a legend.
In 2018, the “original rude boy” released the album ‘Rude Rebels’ with his wife Sugary Staple and former bandmate Roddy Radiation, to some acclaim.
He returns with a non-album single, ‘Put Away Your Knives’, which as its title suggests is a message of warning to all regarding a rise in knife crime. Produced by Dandy Livingstone (performer of the classics ‘Reggae In Your Jeggae’ and ‘Suzanne, Beware of the Devil), the tune is structured around his own ‘A Message To You, Rudy’, as reworked by The Specials themselves in 1979.
In 2008, the original Specials (minus founding member Jerry Dammers) performed at Bestival. The event was quickly heralded by fans as an amazing experience and the following year, the band embarked upon a massive tour. For many, it was the ultimate nostalgia trip; for younger fans, a very welcome – and unexpected – chance to see the band fronted by the legendary Terry Hall, something unseen since the very early 80s. Sure, the band had made albums with varying line-ups throughout the years and even put on a great live show fronted by Neville Staple in the late 90s, but the classic line up of the Specials was special for a reason. A second full tour in 2011 was captured for posterity on the double disc ‘More or Less…The Specials Live’, giving those who couldn’t make the shows in person their own chance to hear Terry “enjoying himself first”.
Most would’ve predicted the reunion would then fizzle, but over the next few years, other live shows followed. Finally, in 2018, almost a decade on from the big reunion, there were mumblings of a new album on the horizon.
First announced back in October 2018, the MPF (Manchester Punk Festival) is set to take place over the three days of Easter Weekend 2019. Among the first wave of bands confirmed were festival favourites King Prawn and Sonic Boom Six.
Several dozen bands were confirmed over the coming months including Samiam, Subhumans, Call Me Malcolm, Goober Patrol and up and coming ska band Millie Manders & The Shutup.
The final wave of bands – now totalling in excess of a hundred – has now been confirmed, adding the mighty Snuff to the line-up. A very welcome addition, Snuff are one of the funniest bands you’ll ever see. If somehow you’re going to this event and haven’t ever seen them, you owe it to yourself to right that wrong.
More details, plus a link to the website, can be found in the press release below.
Over the past few years, The Selecter have gone from strength to strength. The 2-Tone legends have released two critically acclaimed albums in 2015’s ‘Subculture’ and 2017’s ‘Daylight’, but in addition, founding members Pauline Black and Arthur ‘Gaps’ Hendrickson have been permanently on the road.
They’ve toured the UK several times and even taken their show across the Atlantic. Moving into 2019, things show no sign of slowing down.