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Barrowland, Glasgow The Specials

Age has not dimmed Terry Hall's bite.

"Just give them some water," barked The Specials singer at stewards early on in the Coventry band's lengthy set, unimpressed at the delay in refreshments for those crushed down the front. One can only wonder at the dehydrated state of those followers by gig's end, given the amount of skanking throughout.

Neville Staple's recent departure for health reasons does, admittedly, make the band seem more of a nostalgia act than ever, offering no new material at all. Yet Hall's acerbic presence still proved compelling, and as long as the mighty rhythm section of Horace Panter and John Bradbury groove onwards there remains much to admire.

The bass and drums were slightly overwhelming in the mix early on, meaning guitar work on the likes of Concrete Jungle seemed meek. Once that was fixed, matters headed upwards, with the opening material focusing on 1979's debut album.

The group's last Glasgow outing in 2011 featured various videos as a backdrop, but this time the focus was purely on the music. That, as always, was a delight, from a rattling Monkey Man to a stirring sing-a-long on Doesn't Make It Alright. Refreshingly, a string-section aided middle portion provided variety, with I Can't Stand It presented as a soaring pop tune.

The home straight featured the expected euphoria of the hits, as well as their cover of Maggie's Farm which, oddly, went down rather flatly. This was more of a party gig than a political one, although a gigantic version of Ghost Town and a vibrant Do Nothing ensured this was nostalgia that still beat with modern relevance.

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