Rough Irish Seas, Warm Milk And Crazy Dublin Crowds

23 December 2015 | 11:11 am | The Selecter

"He managed to get a piece of steak stuck in his gullet and it would neither go up nor down."

The Selecter is currently in the middle of a 16 date tour of the UK. Obviously, it gets cold here prior to Christmas, so the thermostat on the tour bus is turned up full for the next four days when we will sail across the Irish Sea to Ireland.

Dec 10  – Wrexham Central Station

View from the tourbus

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Gaps Hendrickson and I had just rushed to pick up the tour bus fresh from a two day TV recording stint with Britain’s favourite music presenter and pianist Jools Holland (formerly of Squeeze), so we were tired and hit the bunks immediately. The rest of the band got down to the serious job of enjoying themselves, which mainly means a few drinks of the alcoholic variety and much talk about football.

The venue in Wrexham was cold upon arrival, but soon warmed up once a space heater was brought in. Tremendously helpful staff always makes a gig enjoyable and we were fortunate to find such people running this particular venue.  The gig went without a hitch from soundcheck to showtime and a lot of people enjoyed themselves that night. 

Gaps Hendrickson and I always love to sign to purchases on the merch stall before and after the show, so it is often like we know most of the audience before we begin the performance.

There were a few ardent fans that night, who bravely turned up in the cold sporting only a tonic suit and pork pie hat for warmth. They’re made of stern stuff up north in England.

Dec 11 — Academy in Dublin, Eire

A trip across the Irish Sea is always eventful. The remnants of an Atlantic hurricane had just passed through and was causing havoc in Northern England and Scotland, so we were slightly apprehensive about whether our sea crossing would be cancelled, but The Selecter is a lucky band when it comes to travel and we disembarked right on time at the venue at midday.

We love Dublin and wasted no time in getting a band outing together bound for Temple Bar, which we thoroughly recommend for restaurants, ceilidhs, and just general supping of the Guinness if that’s your tipple.

Unfortunately for one of our band members, the delights of Guinness and a steak were followed by a fretful few hours. He managed to get a piece of steak stuck in his gullet and it would neither go up nor down. Much Googling for medical advice, drinking of copious quantities of water and a few hefty slaps on the back and nothing was moving. We thought we might have to cancel the gig, until a medic was called who saved the day. He recommended drinking warm milk, not something that many musicians out on the road normally indulge in, but it immediately did the trick and the offending lump of meat neatly dropped down the digestive tract and the gig went ahead to much fun and mayhem.

the selecter @ the academy in dublin

Suffice to say that the Irish know how to enjoy themselves.

Dec 12 — Limelight in Belfast

Gaps Hendrickson & Pauline Black posing by the tour bus at the Limelight Belfast

It’s a long time since we last visited Belfast in Northern Ireland for a club show. The Limelight is a great place to play and was packed to the rafters for our show. The venue has two big rooms. Therapy were playing in one supported by Goldblade and we played the other supported by all-female band The Tuts. It’s always a joy to play with The Tuts, who play punky ska with much skill and mayhem. They also always join us for one of our encore songs, which has now become a highlight of our set.

Exhausted after the high energy show we piled back on the bus for a bit of partying before travelling back to Dublin port overnight to board the ferry for the 3 and half hour trip back across the water to Holyhead, on the island of Anglesey in Wales.  Then the long road trip to Birmingham 02 Academy in the West Midlands.

Dec 13 — Birmingham 02 Academy

Safely back in Blighty, the band snoozed their way through the day ahead of showtime. Our favourite band photographer, John Coles, who took the original photos of The Selecter at their first session in 1979 was on hand to do a quick photo shoot before we hit the stage. Here’s a few photos of the night just to prove that audience and band alike had a thoroughly great show.

Can’t wait to hit Australian shores in a couple of months for some sunshine. Merry Christmas everybody down under!


Wed 23 March — Factory Theatre, Marrickville
Fri 25 March — Corner Hotel, Richmond
Sun 27 March — Bluesfest
Mon 28 March — Bluesfest
Tue 22 March — Rosemount Hotel, North Perth