It’s been a few weeks now since The Cluny introduced their new PA system, but it was only last Saturday night that it was really put through its paces. The Beat, featuring the bouncing, skanking Ranking Roger were back, christening the speakers with their first reggae bass lines. Joined by his son, Ranking Junior, the two bound around the tiny stage in almost perfect unison, knees up for the entire gig.
They’re back of course, to promote Bounce, their first album in over 30 years. Each track is wonderfully upbeat, pop- ska, though not without its traditional political and social undertones. Joined on stage by his son, Ranking Junior, Roger makes reference to the Black Lives Matter Campaign, and the crowd show solidarity, raising their fists in the air, before breaking into dub-tinged ‘Walking on the Wrong Side’. The stand out track for Ranking Junior is ‘Side to Side’, with its fast paced riffs and even faster paced vocals. ‘Avoid the Obvious’ slots in alongside their older tracks, with it’s muted bass and steady drums, courtesy of Ocean Colour Scene’s Oscar Harrison.
Old favourites Hands off She’s Mine and Mirror in the Bathroom are met with just as much energy, as The Cluny’s floorboards groan under the weight of 300 pairs of stomping, skanking feet. Riffs are crisp and clean as ever and Roger’s dialectal vocals struggle to be heard over the roar of the crowd.
Bounce by name, bounce by nature, by far the most energized live performance Newcastle’s seen for a while.