30th October 2014
UB40 in Leicester
It was packed at The O2 Academy tonight; people were queueing to get in. Inside the main hall there was a party atmosphere. One of the iconic bands of the English music scene was in town tonight and the people of Leicester had turned out to see them. As the eight musicians came on to the stage the cheering started. It continued until the start of the first song and it was deafening. The first bars of the set thundered into the room, led by the brass players from the front of the stage. I could feel the music – quite literally – at the vibrations from the heavy bass lines shook the walls and the floor.
Photos by Kevin Gaughan
This was an event for people of all ages. Leicester gave a warm welcome to the lads from Birmingham. Reggae has always been a popular style of music in Leicester. Several of our local bands have built their music careers on this genre: By The Rivers, Echo Marley, Stop That Train and many others have included songs that reflect the infectious rhythms of this Jamaican music.
UB40 traces its original back to the last 1970s. A group of friends from Birmingham got together to add something special to the music scene, working with a popular style of music that they could make their own. As the band’s website says; ‘ UB40 weren’t drawn into trying to sound “authentic,” and there was considerably more depth to their music than that of many punk and 2Tone bands.’ Not a reggae covers band, not a tribute to Bob Marley, but a group of musicians who wrote their own songs and devised their own take on reggae.
Tonight was one of those magic moments in the year of Leicester music. With bands and artists coming here from all over the world, with venues putting on gigs every night of the week, with festivals attracting thousands of people from all over the country, Leicester is a place that offers a huge amount to choose from. Tonight many people from all around the Midlands, let alone Leicester, chose UB40 and quite rightly too. What we enjoyed tonight was a musical experience that gave us rhythms to dance to, songs to sing along to and a non-stop supply of sounds from a top-class band.
UB40’s current line-up has been, since 2008: Duncan Campbell (co-lead vocals), Robin Campbell (co-lead vocal and guitar), Earl Falconer (bass, vocals), Brian Travers (sax and keys), Jimmy Brown (drums), Norman Hassan (percussion, vocals), Martin Meredith (sax) and Lawrence Parry (sax.) Rob, Earl, Jimmy and Brian are all founder members of the band with the latter two being – and always have been – the principal songwriters. Duncan Campbell joined the band in 2008 when Ali Campbell left to form his own band. Martin and Lawrence have been in the band for 20 years.
UB40 played many of their best-loved songs, including
Present Arms, You Could Meet Somebody, If You Ever Have Forever In Mind, Midnight Rider, Silent Witness, Homely Girl, Getting Over the Storm and many more.
A very special night with a very special band.