What a fantastic gig on Saturday at Liverpool’s O2 Academy!
The scene was set, and the bar was high when Pretty Green, a three-piece band (drummer, lead, and bass guitar), took to the stage to warm up the crowd for the headliners, Pork Pie. Their repertoire—covers of Jam tracks, both classic and more obscure for the die-hard fans—transported you back to the punk-rock, mod era. The 21-year-old lead singer hauntingly sounded very similar to the Modfather himself, Paul Weller. The crowd was in raptures during and at the close of their set; I’m sure Weller would have been proud of what he’d heard, played, and sung had he been there. Fantastic!
Pork Pie, from Scotland, who have embarked on a UK tour, further heightened the electric atmosphere of the crowd with their energy and accomplished instrument-playing. They performed a selection of SKA songs from The Beat, Bad Manners, The Selecter, Madness, and The Specials.
The crowd was at fever pitch throughout the ninety-minute set—not only because of the heat within the venue (the stage must have been uncomfortably and unbearably hot for the eight-piece band) but also by continuously skanking (dancing) and encouraging the audience to join in. Not that the crowd of ‘rude boys’ needed much encouragement; from the outset of the first track ‘Lorraine,’ it was clear the audience was in for a good night of pure entertainment.
Despite the hiccups of a faulty lead microphone needing replacement mid-song, the appalling heat, and a rather ‘bloody’ fight taking place in the centre of the crowd, the band displayed ultimate professionalism. They gave 100% to ensure the crowd got what they wanted. Pork Pie delivered in spectacular style. Cover and tribute bands usually perform only classic hits from their genre; however, they bashfully announced they would be playing one of their own tracks, ‘Hands Go Numb.’ The crowd was highly receptive—not just the hardcore supporters who had traveled from Scotland. There was little need for the self-deprecating introduction to the song, as it was truly fantastic and epitomized the SKA sound.
The wind section (saxophone, trumpet, and trombone) underpinned the SKA sound, complementing the lead singer who worked incredibly hard throughout the performance. That said, the whole band exuded vibes of enjoyment throughout the set, making the crowd feel like they were part of an exclusive party.
If you’re embracing the SKA revival, want value for money, and wish to see a band exude immense energy and intensity, then book your tickets either directly via the band/venue’s website for a night of unadulterated singing and skanking the night away.