Luton music fans are in for a treat!
Promoter Gareth Barber from Bedford-based Pad Presents is trialling a concert at the UK Centre for Carnival Arts next month featuring seminal ska band The Selecter.
And he plans to follow up in November with original Jam bassist Bruce Foxton in From The Jam.
Gareth, 28, said: “My Pad partner Gavin Bailey and I have been running large scale shows in Bedford for some years now with headline acts like Adam Ant, Marc Almond and Bad Manners.
“But we’ve noticed not a great deal of big touring artists seem to pass through Luton. So we decided to go ahead and give it our best shot.
“And hopefully these two gigs will be the start of something good.”
First up is The Selecter – whom Gareth describes as “a most vital and visceral ska act” – at the 600 capacity UKCCA venue in St Mary’s Road on Friday, October 5.
He claims the group led the ska revival movement, along with 2-tone label mates The Specials and Madness, and added: “This year sees the return of The Selecter, reuniting the original duo – female icon Pauline Black and stylishly charismatic Gaps ‘De Killa’ Hendrickson – who deliver stunning performances of classic hits like On My Radio, Three Minute Hero and Too Much Pressure, alongside new cuts from their album Made in Britain.
“Hopefully the event at this great venue will be the first of many . . . and what a brilliant band to kick it off.”
Support for The Selecters is from local ska heroes Semi Skinned.
Lead singer Pauline Black is something of a pioneer in the music business – the only woman in a movement dominated by men.
She was born in 1953 to Anglo-Jewish/Nigerian parents and was adopted by a white family in Romford.
Last year she published her autobiography, Black by Design, in which she details her search for her birth parents and tells the often amusing tale of her musical roots.
Gareth’s second act, From the Jam, is one of his personal favourites.
He said: “Bruce Foxton is one of the original members of the immortal punk/mod/new wave trio and performed with Stiff Little Fingers - he’s a bona fide British rock legend.”
Bruce is joined by Russell Hastings on lead vocal and guitar and former Big Country and Cult drummer Mark Brzezicki.
Together they recreate a stunningly authentic interpretation of The Jam’s classic back catalogue performing tracks like Start, Town Called Malice, Precious, Bitterest Pill and Going Underground.
In their time, The Jam had amazing chart success with 18 singles and seven albums in the UK Top 40 from their debut in 1977 to their break-up in 1982.
Gareth believes they were simply one of the most-loved and important bands ever.
He said: “From The Jam play regular sell-out shows around the country to a devoted base of both old and new fans.
“Their appearance at UKCCA for a night of nostalgia should not be missed.”
It will take place on Saturday, November 17 with local band Bowfinger on the billing. The ticket price of £20 includes an after-show party.
Gareth and Gavin are keeping fingers crossed Lutonians appreciate their attempts to bring big names to the town.
Father-of-one Gareth explained: “Our main aim from every gig is to make sure we put on a great show and that people enjoy themselves.
“The buzz from seeing hundreds of happy people together in one room from something you’ve put together is what keeps us promoting.”