Bad Manners Review
The local kindred of skinheads, punks and ska fans assemble at Concorde2 for their yearly fix of Bad Manners. Formed in 1976 and forever fronted by Buster Bloodvessel, the band hit their peak of popularity in the early 80s before being banned by Top Of The Pops for their wild onstage antics and eccentric behaviour. Fortunately for us, Brighton is no stranger to ska and welcomes all cultural backgrounds including lunacy.
Bad Manners begin their set with a musical intro and the band bounce around like paddle balls. Buster arrives dressed in flat cap, bomber jacket, shorts and white socks – somewhat aged, but still as fat and lively as ever. The crowd chants “You fat bastard” and Buster warmly replies “You know me well”.
Bad Manners are arguably the strongest band from the 2 Tone ska revival of the late 1970s because they continue to play shows without ever recording new material. Our favourite overgrown baby informs us that “In case you didn’t know, this is ska!” and they play ‘This is Ska’, ‘My Girl Lollipop’, ‘Fatty Fat’ and ‘Lorraine’ in a flash. The Concorde becomes a trampoline and the audience becomes a troop of kangaroos frantically hopping around to keep up.
Huge-tongued Buster amuses us with his signature movements. He exaggerates happiness with elaborate facial expressions and shakes his body about; dancing in the company of his whooping gut as if it were a separate person. Buster genuinely loves his fatty fat. Each member of the band is brought into the spotlight at some point in the show to exhibit their individual talents. They serve up a generous helping of hits, including renditions of ‘Sally brown’, ‘Ne-Ne Na-Na Na-Na Nu-Nu’, ‘Just a Feeling’ and ‘Skinhead Girl’.
Every Bad Manners song is a classic and the set is non-stop fun. Highlights include the 1981 single ‘Walking In The Sunshine’ and a cover of Frankie Valli’s ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’, while the band’s number three UK chart-topper ‘Special Brew’ closes the set. Buster and company deliver an energetic package of effortless entertainment with an encore of ‘Lip-Up Fatty’ and ‘Can-Can’. The perfect way to begin seasonal celebrations is with a cold-bald head, having a good ol’ knees up with Bad Manners. See you all same time next year.
Concorde2, Sunday 16th Dec 2012
Words by John Mclean
Photos by Charles Shepherd