Saturday, November 13, 2010

Signing Off

To the Forum (T & C as was) in Kentish Town last night to see UB40. It's the 30th anniversary of the release of Signing Off and they're celebrating the milestone with a tour in which they play the album in full before coming back on and doing some of their hits. It's become a popular format lately and I've been to a few similar gigs in the recent past, including Dare, Architecture and Morality, and It's a Shame About Ray.

They've all been good and the format has really worked but I think that's largely down to the fact that the albums that have been performed have been excellent and full of crowd pleasers. Unfortunately I don't think Signing Off qualifies in this respect. It's only got a couple of hits on it and it showed as the crowd didn't really get going until they played Food for Thought and then it all went rather flat again. The second half was a bit better but I was left wanting to listen to some proper reggae. I never had high expectations of the gig but even then, I came away feeling disappointed.

There should really have been some poignancy to the gig as the album was first released as a Tory government was in the throes of implementing a hate-filled, anti working class, anti anybody unlucky enough to be poor or vulnerable agenda and dressing it up as essential medicine for an ailing economy while ensuring that big business and bankers felt none of the pain. Thirty years later and we're here again but you'd never have guessed it from the attitude of the band who didn't even bother to engage with the audience on the obvious parallels that could have been drawn, They didn't even play One in Ten. Maybe they're all Liberal Democrats now.

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