Belfast Telegraph

Pressure off as ska stars The Selection close Feile festivities

By Michael Conaghan

The Feile without a ska band to close it is now an unthinkable proposition, like Holmes without Watson or Keith Richards without a tequila.

This year The Selecter had the job of bringing things to a happy conclusion, with songs from their classic first album Too Much Pressure, plus some of their greatest hits.

Always at a slight angle to other ska bands, a bit like Pulp were to Britpop, they majored in politically charged lyrics delivered with passion by the charismatic Pauline Black, and a distinctive clipped rhythm that in its own way anticipated hip-hop.

Despite the remnants of Hurricane Bertha, a pale sun was competing with the showers like some desperate piece of symbolism, as the moonstomping in the mud began.

And The Selecter showed themselves to be an act worth rediscovering, not just for the high energy hits like Three Minute Hero, but also for less well-known but equally strong material like Missing Words.

Pauline Black remains the group's central focus, dapper in a pin stripe suit and pork pie hat.

Sophisticated jazz textures showed a band unafraid to experiment, and if Madness can become national treasures and the Specials resurrected live specialists, why can' t The Selecter come in from left field in Ormeau Park?

One minor gripe – the amount of time between overlong support bands and the main act arriving on stage. No headliner is too big not to show their audience some respect.

Four stars

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