The late seventies and early eighties were a joyous time for those of us who were leaving our late teens and entering their early twenties. There was an embarrassment of musical riches, some originating from the rhythmic sounds influenced by the wealth of nationalities coming from former British colonies. Tonight, we enjoyed two bands who shone brightly but briefly during my formative years.

Bow Wow Wow were created from the ashes of the original Adam & The Ants by Sex Pistols managerial Svengali Malcolm McLaren who fronted this outfit with a teenager in Annabella Lwin who had been heard singing in a dry cleaners. The band released two New wave come worldbeat albums before the group minus singer formed Chiefs of Relief with former Sex Pistol`s drummer Paul Cook.

Annabella along with a stand-up drummer and guitarist share a well-received fifty-minute set which still retains that blend of Burundi ritual music-influenced tom-tom drum beats.

The chantlike `Love, Peace and Harmony` leads us in before `C30 C60 C90 Go! ` which was the world`s first ever cassette single release, remember those and `Aphrodisiac` which was in the film Marie Antionette. The set progresses with the pounding `W.O.R.K.`, `Go Wild in the Country`, a Bob Marley & The Wailers cover with the ska tinged `Cheer Up` and closing with `I Want Candy` a remake of the Strangeloves sixties hit which became a hit for BWW. Annabella spoke fondly about her former colleague Matthew Ashman and shared that it was seven years since she`d played in the UK. Her voice is still as strong as ever and on the strength of the audience`s reaction i`m sure it won`t be too long before she returns.

U2 had a song called `A sort of Homecoming` and tonight for singer Dave Wakeling indeed this was as he arrived in the city of his birth at just over the half way point on a twenty-date trek of the UK. He picks up one of his signature teardrop guitars and leads us through a cover of the Prince Buster number `Rough Rider` before sending this packed crowd into a frenzy with `Twist And Crawl` and `

`Hands Off She’s Mine`. Dave shares that he first memory of this evening`s venue was seeing David Bowie`s Ziggy Stradust tour here as a sixteen-year-old in 1972.

The pace slows a little with `I’ll Take You There` a cover of a song made popular by The Staple Singers. There`s a sense of poignancy as Dave remembers former band mates saxophonist Lionel “Saxa” Morton, drummer Everett Morton and vocalist and mc Ranking Roger, who have all sadly passed away with a rendition of `Can’t Get Used to Losing You` a number that was also a hit for Andy Williams in the sixties. The hits keep coming with `Save It For Later`, `Whine & Grine / Stand Down Margaret`, `Too Nice to Talk To` and closing out on `Mirror in the Bathroom`. The singer muses on `Whine` that when the song was written, the times were full of employment strikes, a failing economy, raging inflation and political unrest, which brought cheers and laughter from the audience with this ironic testimony. How times have changed, eh?

We don`t have to wait long before the band return and share the thoughtful `Two Swords`, `The Tears of a Clown` where Dave reminisces about meeting the original singer Smokey Robinson before leaving us with `Jackpot` a cover of a song by the Pioneers and written by Desmond Decker.

I last saw Dave Wakeling`s Beat seven years ago and Ranking Roger joined him for a couple of numbers. Tonight, there are eight musicians on stage including his daughter Chloe on backing vocals and ringmaster, toaster and mc Antonee First Class and this eighty-minute show is a little more polished but still enthrals us emotionally and nostalgically.

Welcome home Dave.

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