An evening of Skinhead Moonstomping to raise money for The Specialized Project in Jacs Aberdare.
The Specialized Project celebrates ten years of fundraising this year. They raise money for a number of good causes, including the Teen Cancer Trust and Tonic for Mental Health.
Tonight had originally been planned as an evening of ska, but a last minute drop out saw the addition of legendary anti-fascist Oi band, Cardiff’s The Oppressed.
This addition set punks and skins chattering all over south Wales, as they had not played a gig for five years. As a result, as we entered the building, it was a riot of DMs, Fred Perrys and shaved heads.
The thing about the skinhead look is that it looks smart on any age. Very few can get away with the punk or hippy look at sixty, but the brutal simplicity of skinhead still looks sharp. Or, in tonight’s case, S.H.A.R.P. Not that the room was full of sixty years old, there were skins from across the generations there, but all looked the part.
Bridgend’s Evil Turkeys were the first up. I don’t recall seeing them before, but as soon as they hit the stage I was impressed. Tight ska-punk, with the emphasis definitely on the ska. Tight and polished and high energy, with a front man that knows how to get the crowd going. The dancefloor soon filled up and the whole room was bouncing.
It was mostly originals, with a few covers thrown in for good measure. Nancy Sinatra’s classic gets a makeover and becomes ‘These Boots are Made for Stomping’, and we soon have a singalong going.
The room is filling up nicely as The Oppressed arrive. The oppressed have been around, off and on, since 1981, with various lineups. They were the first UK band to promote the Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice – a reaction to the growth of boneheads and Nazis that were latching on to the skinhead movement (completely missing out on the fact skinheads grew out of the Jamaican Ska scene). They are not just big in the UK, but big internationally with the anti-fascist music scene.
Over the years the line up has changed quite a bit. Tonight, Roddy Moreno, the one constant, is joined by founder member Russell ‘Ducky’ Payne and the rhythm section from the Evil Turkeys.
From the word go they are bang at it, a tour de force of intense street punk, with songs about fighting fascism and references to skinhead culture. Mid set they are handed a Cardiff City Football Lads and Lasses against Fascism flag which Roddy proudly displays on stage. The crowd lap up the set, but all good things must come to an end and eventually people poor outside for some fresh air and to cool down.
Cartoon Violence finish off the night. Big in Mid Wales, but this is their first time in Aberdare, but they are soon winning over people to their groove. With Saxophone and keyboards literally up front, they are not quite traditional ska, but are by no means ska-punk. They take their own path to create something quite unique. Ska rock?
Whatever they are playing, they are vey good at it and are a nice compliment to the rest of the line up. By the time they finish the room looks exhausted. Happy and grinning, but exhausted. For may present it was the first night out since lockdown was eased, many had travelled for the gig, and all were going to go home happy that they have had a good night out and happy that they have raised some money for a good cause. Well done Scottie and the Specialized crew.
For more photographs of the night go to our Facebook page