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3MEN+Black - 2Tone Special Tour Reviews

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After seeing some of those MTV unplugged shows on Sky,I thought it would be good to see some 2Tone tracks done in that fashion and lo and behold! up pop 3 Men and Black. Normally Pauline, Nick(Selecter), JJ Burnel, (Stranglers) Jake Burns(S.L.F.) and Bruce Foxton, (The Jam) this new line up saw the inclusion of Specials guitar maestro Roddy "Radiation" Byers and Dave Wakeling of The Beat to team up with regulars Pauline Black and the talented Nick Welsh of The Selecter. In Hull ,we were treated to a great little compact venue and an even greater show. This was one of those times when you hit a tour on the right date,because this performance was top drawer. A relaxed surrounding aided the flow of the gig and these long standing friends simply bounced off each other,and when we were backstage it was good to see just how relaxed the four musicians were (those sausage rolls were lovely! and a buzz to meet Dave Wakeling at last). Before each song,each individual would explain the ideas behind the track and this gave us a smart insight into the embryonic versions that would become chart hits.The whole repertoire was classic 2Tone, with a sprinkling of fresh material,mainly courtesy of The Selecter contingent. The crowd loved it and this helped it to be the success it was,with casual banter between the artistes and punters . Dave Wakeling added some class to the proceedings, his voice still smooth and clear as Beat numbers were belted out with gusto, his harmonising with Pauline and Nick was so suited to this acoustic atmosphere, add Roddy's skilful instantly recognisable guitar into the equation and the recipe was complete. Roddy's Specials songs were given rapturous applause and Pauline Black's vocals were soulfully excelling in this unplugged arena. Some have cast doubts over this type of gig but the show did more than enough to dispel any fears,as this was such a welcome change,and it was eye opening to hear renditions of classics,subtedly re-arranged,casting them in a totally different light that left you wanting more,and the demand for encores proved that this performance was a hit with everyone. Rhoda Dakar has been making guest appearances on the tour,unfortunately she was not in Hull for this one which is a shame as I would have liked to see her in Bodysnatcher mode. If you are wanting a cracking performance,value for money,and an evening of classics to boot,then this incarnation of 3 Men and Black is for you. Theres a week left of this tour,so if you are lucky enough to be in or near a destination on that itinery get yerself up and out and along to what I think has been one of the best gigs in a while.I look forward to the next one when 3 Men and Black are back. Do your bit, get the CD and get out there. NOW.

First Half

Message To you,Rudy*
Tears Of A Clown
Three Minute Hero
Rat Race
Doors of Your Heart*
Ten Years*
Hey,Little Rich Girl
Hands Off...She's Mine*
Doesnt Make It Alright*

Second Half

Do Nothing*
Racist Friend*
On My Radio*
Mirror In The Bathroom*
Redemption Song
Concrete Jungle*
Stand Down Margaret*
Too Much Pressure

* denotes stand out tracks

Review by Paul Williams - Street Feeling Promotions,York.

My husband and his friends went to the gig in Hull & they said it was fantastic, I have listened to the CD it is brilliant.....Debbie Lang

Live Review: 3Men + Black, at The Subclub, Glasgow, Scotland, 12/02/2005
Reviewed by Anna Battista

3Men+Black is a sort of acoustic 2Tone supergroup: it includes The Beat's Dave Wakeling, The Specials' Roddy 'Radiation' Byers, The Selecter's Pauline Black and Bad Manners/The Selecter's Nick Welsh. A long time might have gone since the end of the '70s/beginning of the '80s, when bands such as The Selecter, The Specials and The Beat (better known in the UK as The English Beat) formed and led the 2Tone movement, but for tonight the clocks have stopped at the heyday of 2Tone. This is the first time the 3Men+Black play Glasgow and, in particular, the legendary Subclub, but the audience, pure ska fans, are ready to welcome them. Dave Wakeling, who explains to the crowd that he's been away from the UK music scene because he's been in America for the last 17 years (the only detail of tonight's gig which is fervently booed by the locals), introduces the first track, The Specials' "Message to You Rudy." It instantly sends the crowd into ecstasy. "Tears of a Clown" follows, presented by Wakeling as a good example of how to destroy a good Motown song. Then it's Pauline Black's turn, with an impeccable rendition of "Three Minute Hero", accompanied by Nick Welsh on bass and backing vocals. To prove that they're not ancient ska dinosaurs, Black launches into a recent and moving song inspired by the case of Stephen Lawrence, a black boy killed more than ten years ago in a racist attack in London, "Ten Years". The general mood is light at the Subclub, and Wakeling keeps on alternating on the microphone with Black to present the next song. Each song in introduced with a short story connected to it, at least until Roddy 'Radiation' urges, to the cheers of the crowd, to "fuck the introduction" and just play. More hits are played, among them The Beat's classic 1980 anti-Thatcher hit "Stand Down Margret", "Hands Off... She's Mine", "Can't Get Used to Losing You" and "Mirror in the Bathroom"; The Specials' "Rat Race", "My Girl Lollipop" and "Doesn't Make It Alright"; The Selecter's "Missing Words", "Too Much Pressure" and "On My Radio". Before performing the latter, Black tells the audience a little story from Coventry, where she lives, to prove the obsession surrounding this track. Apparently one day, while she was walking her black-and-white (because she likes to keep everything 2Tone, she underlines) dog in a park, she heard a bird singing the chorus of the song. All the people in pork pie hats and the random-aged skinheads in the audience maniacally dance on each track that is played. It's hard to say definitely which, among these greatest hits, is the most appreciated by the crowd, since each of them is impeccably delivered. There's also a moving moment during the gig, when the 3Men+Black play an acoustic version of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" and all the people in the audience join in. Though at the end of the gig there is no encore, which makes the fans a bit sad, this gig is proof that 'dinosaurs' is not the right term to define the 3Men+Black. 'Legends' is much more apt for the members of this special group.


Just wanted to say how much Jo and I enjoyed the gig. I got to know of 3Men + Black because I am an avid Stranglers fan. I went to the two tone themed night mainly out of curiousity. Although I always liked The Beat I was never into 2 Tone as I was a 'Rocker' at the time...

Anyhow we went with an open mind and were really pleased with the musicianship and the fact that they were obviously enjoying playing together too.

Aylesbury crowds are normally quite reserved, but I think you did well for a Thursday evening.
Please come again :-)


Swindon gig excellent,
Dave stole the show with the great versions of the Beat racks and please send me a pint of whatever Roddy was drinking. Gangsters great. Thanks to Nick for playing on a difficult day and to Pauline for her usual high standards.

Please come again Rob.
For those not aware, Nicks mother passed away the week before the tour started, and her funeral was the day before. Well done Nick

Hi just to let you know the gig at Swindon was brilliant and well worth the trip from Exeter ,Roddy was just magic and to see Dave who has'nt changed a bit from his Beat days .Pauline and Nick are always available for a chat after their gigs but to chat with Roddy and Dave was great . Look forward to seeing an album to add to the one i bought at the gig.
Thanks for a great night Ian Rosewell.

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