When The Specials reformed in 2008 for a one off surprise performance at the Bestival Festival few would have banked on the band still playing to huge audiences around the world in 2016, but they are with a new tour booked for October and November and plans for the future. Following the terribly sad loss of drummer and founder member John Bradbury suddenly in December 2015 the band have decided to carry on and continue to fill dance halls and inspire fans young and old.
With the first tour in 2009 selling out immediately and more dates hurriedly added it was obvious there was a massive demand to see this iconic band who only released two albums in their short career but were one of the most influential groups in UK musical history. Hailing from the industrial city of Coventry, this multi-racial seven-piece combined the angry, disaffected voice of punk with the wind-your-waist sensibility of ska and reggae to re-define pop music and make Britain dance again. A mercurial two and a half years later and it was all over, leaving behind seven top ten singles (two of which went to No.1) and two top five genre-defining albums. Their first single, ‘Gangsters’, released on their own 2tone label in 1979, was their calling card and ‘Ghost Town’, their swan song, encapsulated the political mood in Britain. In between was a larger-than-life reputation for killer sweat-drenched live shows and an attitude that walked like it talked.
Since they reformed 30 years later, The Specials have performed at over 200 shows worldwide including (deep breath): Coachella / Live on the Letterman Show (US), Summersonic / Fuji Rocks (Japan), Benecassim (Spain), Lalapalooza Festival, (Chile), Montreal Jazz Festival (Canada), Bluesfest Byron Bay (Australia) as well as countless other worldwide events. In the Uk they closed the Olympic Games festival in Hyde Park, played Glastonbury, Isle of Wight Festival amongst others and had several sold out tours.
The band have now confirmed that Gary Powell of The Libertines will be drumming on the 2016 dates following the tragic loss of founder member John (Brad) Bradbury who died at the end of 2015. Powell has said: “It is with deepest gratitude that I state what an honor it is to be asked to perform for The Specials in their up and coming US and UK tour dates. John (Brad) Bradbury was a unique performer and his style and ability was definitely one of the defining factors that helped to create The Specials sound, and it is with great humility that I will be doing these tours and carrying on his legacy.
The Specials are one of the UK’s most important bands so I am also very excited at the prospect of performing such a great catalogue of music with some of the most important characters in English music folklore.
Again I cannot thank The Specials enough for believing in me to take on such a heady task and I look forward to the challenge!”