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Features / Specials man to visit, while Shannon returns

Neville Staple, a founding member of The Specials, is bound for Shetland.

ONE OF the founding members of seminal 1970s ska band The Specials, Neville Staple, is to play a show in Shetland this Hallowe’en.

Local promoters Klub Revolution and Oceana have teamed up with Shetland Arts to lay on the 31 October concert at Mareel with the Neville Staple Band. Tickets go on sale on Friday.

Staple was a key figure in the 2-tone ska movement of the late seventies and played a big part in The Specials’ huge mainstream success, with numerous top 10 singles including Ghost Town and Too Much Too Young

He and his band will play tracks from throughout Staple’s illustrious career, which has seen him work with The Beat and rejoin The Specials for several reunion tours.

Linda Irvine and Paul Johnston of Rock Salt & Nails in full flow. Photo: Ben Mullay

August is also shaping up to be a busy month for Klub Revolution, with two contrasting shows in the next fortnight.

First comes Rock Salt & Nails’ first Shetland show since the 2011 Tall Ships. Their cabaret-seated concert at Mareel on Saturday (2 August) is being billed as a “fringe” event for this year’s Fiddle Frenzy festival, which officially gets underway on Sunday.

Rock Salt & Nails need little introduction to many isles music fans, having formed in Shetland over quarter of a century ago.

The band fuse contemporary song with traditional elements, and comprise front man Paul Johnston on guitar, vocals and banjo; Fiona Johnston on keyboards and vocals; Linda Irvine on fiddle and vocals; John Clark on bass, and Russell Gair on drums.

Alan McLeod of Klub Revolution said audiences shouldn’t be surprised to find additional band members and special guests appearing “at any given time – surprise is certainly their by-word”.

Acid jazz combo the James Taylor Quartet will perform on 16 August.

Next up on 16 August – again at Mareel – is the James Taylor Quartet, a band credited with pioneering the sound of acid jazz in the UK. 

The quartet have enjoyed huge success since first coming together in 1986 following the demise of psychedelic mod scenesters The Prisoners.

Led by the enigmatic James Taylor, the band have demonstrated dexterity in updating the cinematic jazz sound of the 1960s and 1970s, from spy themes to freeform jazz.

 A “bulging catalogue of remarkable albums and show-stopping gigs” have ensured that the quartet remain “in hot demand everywhere from Ronnie Scott’s to Rome”.

The James Taylor Quartet have entered the charts, most notably with 1993 hit Love the Life and its parent album Supernatural Feeling, and received a MOBO award nomination for 1998’s Whole Lotta Live. There have also been guest appearances with bands including the Pogues, the Manic Street Preachers and Tom Jones.

Meanwhile, Shetland Arts has confirmed that hugely popular Irish folk singer Sharon Shannon will return to the isles for two shows in late September. She previously played at Mareel in November 2013.

Accompanied by multi-instrumentalist and singer Alan Connor, Shannon will play at Mareel on Friday 26 September followed by a show in the North Roe & Lochend Hall the following night.

Sharon Shannon and Alan Connor performing together.

Now celebrating 21 years since her debut album, she and Connor will take audiences on a trip through her back catalogue drawing on material from her nine studio albums – as well as introducing some brand new compositions and covers, playing her trademark accordion and also taking turns on the whistle and fiddle.

Her high-octane traditional music will be complemented by Connor’s use of a foot-stomp, boogie-woogie piano and electric guitar. His music owes its origins more to the tradition of New Orleans and the old blues masters than any Irish tradition.

Tickets go on sale on Friday and Shetland Arts marketing officer Lisa Ward said: “Sharon Shannon continues to present a fresh and relevant sound, constantly updating and reinventing her own unique style of trad music. The experience of seeing Sharon and Alan performing live together is both powerful and compelling.”