For recession-infested Britain, tribute bands have fast become a popular evening for everyday folk. With downloading strangling the music industry, touring and festivals are the bread and butter for pop artists, but unfortunately seeing your idols live comes with a price-tag.
Much to my delight then that I spotted Los Palmas 6, a tribute to my era’s legends, Madness, were to shake up the sleepy village of Market Lavington; I’d have crawled there if needs be.
Tribute acts are plentiful and range through the eras, but can be a gamble. It’s like throwing the selection menu away and dipping your hand into the chocolate box, you’re never sure what you’re going to get. Disappointment can avoided though by checking website reviews, or just attending a place you can trust will book something special; the Market Lavington Music & Comedy Club are about as trustworthy as you’re going to get; Los Palmas 6 sold the heat, with a rock steady beat.
To be fair, the whole two-tone period is akin to tribute bands, when you think about it; the basis for the ska sound predating the era by twenty years in the tenement yards of West Kingston, and the Specials, Madness, et-al were not adverse to covering the original classics of Studio One. Madness even coined its name from the Prince Buster anthem.
But you’re not here for a history of reggae; if you were I’d only chew your ears off, got a bit of an everlasting love affair with the music see, a healthy one though, reggae hasn’t put a restraining order on me yet. Still, it suits me not to trek the world following some aging guys who were once a pop band, when locally there’s such a selection of these tribute acts and many project the raw, early periods of an act, as opposed to a blown-out rocker going through the motions rather than cashing their pension.
Now Madness is one band I’ve shamefully never caught live, though I’ve heard only awesome tales, so while I cannot compare them to the real McCoy, the blisters on my feet and perspiring brow afterwards should indicate I had a blinding time and Los Palmas 6 were everything they set out be, and a lot more.
Saturday’s night air had a nip, a chilling reminder winter is around the corner, but the glowing Community Hall warmed me. Unlike many village halls which resemble a 1970s scout hut, Market Lavington proudly have constructed a mega high-ceilinged ballroom, clean, contemporary and functional by design; I was impressed.
Diehard skinheads and mods surrounded the entrance, always a welcoming sight, and the man on the door informed me how busy it gets, “there’s always something going on here.” The hall had side rooms, with bar and reasonably priced kitchen selling pork baps and gourmet burgers; both bookmarked.
With the great support band finishing, and mates propping the bar up, I manged to sneak a chat with the organiser of the event, the endearingly enthusiastic character of Ted Osborn. Since making the village his home, Ted runs the Market Lavington Music & Comedy Club, bringing the village a colossal variety of performances. Being so cut-off from nearby towns by distance, it can only be a necessity for inhabitants.
Ted was keen about this event, trusting it to attract. Still I observed; it can be no simple feat to fill this hall similar to a Viking Valhalla. Ted confessed it’s not always so easy. As we discussed on No Surprises Sunday, getting punters through the door of a rural event is tricky, but all it needs is the support of Lavington, its surrounding villages and prosperity in the form of townsfolk willing to make the trip. I confirm to you Ted puts on a great show and it’s well worth the effort.
The band looked the part; Saxophonist in his Crombie, the Suggs-a-like donned a trademark blue bowler hat and the sound, well the music was parallel to the original fairground ska of Madness. With members of the band having played in Madness, and some of the original musicians having played with them too, Los Palmas 6 are the closest thing you’ll get to Madness without it actually being Madness, if you see what I mean. I did explain all this in the preview, please try to keep up.
Normally on a monthly basis, The Market Lavington Music & Comedy Club has hosted everything from Rolling Stones and Amy Winehouse tributes to a Take That one or comedy nights with comedians John Moloney, Sean Meo, Dave Thompson and Tim O’Conner. Events finish this year with a three course meal, black tie Winter Ball on 2nd December, where Simply Swing, who have played on Jools Holland and Strictly Come Dancing, will take the stage, and a New Year’s Eve party with covers band, The Magic Tones, a disco and buffet; what’s not to like?
Without hanging around for spring, it’s the third return of the popular Abba tribute, Swede Dreamz on Saturday February 10th. Ted is confident tickets will sell out for this, so check the Website or Facebook to get yours.