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The Specials at Music Tastes Good 2016, September 24th. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

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RECAP: I won’t lie, I missed most of The Specials’ performance. I got caught up in Iron & Wine’s set, and having lost track of time, missing my time in The Specials’ photo pit, I decided to only catch the last few songs of their set. Even though I was only able to catch the last four songs, I’m just glad I got see them do their thing at all.

As I approached their set, I could feel the rhythms of their British ska pulse through my veins. Their rocksteady beats, combined with their socially conscious lyrics, got my pace to quicken and by the time I wiggled my way into the crowd, wearing my camera gear strapped to my body, I began to skank with the masses.

Long Beach loves ska, and the mixed crowd of young and old skankers were kicking around, enjoying the music. Grizzled dudes wearing cargo shorts and tanks had climbed the various light posts to get a better view of the British pioneers of the second wave of ska, and security let them enjoy the carefree, and joyous mood, by letting them be.

Watching a handful of their original members on stage was a special treat for me. Lynval Golding, Horace Panter and Terry Hall were each in fine form, still performing with the kind of energy that ska requires to get the groove going. I overheard that Tony Kanal (from No Doubt) was in the audience, and that wouldn’t have surprised me since Tony has cited Horace Panter as one of his early influences.

When they finished their set with “Enjoy Yourself” it was clearly obvious that they had successfully completed their mission as there were smiles in the crowd abound. Who knows when the band will be back in Southern California, so I’m just glad I got to catch them, if even for just a moment, at Music Tastes Good.

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