Walking into Birmingham’s O2 Academy2 on 22nd November 2014 you’d be quite easily mistaken into thinking that the nights first support act Farse were the headline act. Having recently re-formed after a ten year absence the Birmingham band are back, and it was something that the sold out crowd were seemingly aware of and eager to see. Far too often do music fans forgo support acts in favour of a local watering hole where drinks can be purchased at half the price of those at the venue, however anticipation for Farse was high. When the quintet hit the stage with their Anthemic Midlands Ska, the audience responded as though the boys had never left with masses of people singing-a-long, it would seem that even in their absence the fan base hasn’t gone away, and with further shows on the horizon it is possible that the fan base could grow a little more.

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To have to follow a triumphant return such as Farse’s would be a daunting task for most bands, so how do you do it? By bringing to stage a laid back Dutch infused Reggae based Ska band to the stage of course! Jaya the Cat certainly have a very unique and unforgettable stage presence, with front man Geoff Lagadec forgoing the traditional guitar strap and instead opting for nothing more than a box to rest his leg on. The band describe their sound as Drunk Reggae, which is one way to describe it, however regardless of what you called it one thing was for certain and that was that the crowd were lapping it up. It is very rare to see so much buzz following the performances of both opening acts, and it could have been something that the nights head-liners were left regretting.

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The Mad Caddies take to the stage without fanfare, without bells and whistles, they don’t even have a banner this evening just a the bands name written on an A4 piece of paper a task undertaken by a young child (assumedly one of the bands children). The Mad Caddies don’t exactly hit the stage as you would expect a legendary Ska to do, they walk onto the stage pick up their instruments and play. Although lead singer Chuck does not look fully comfortable up on stage standing behind his mic stand, he has the whole of the packed out room singing along with him as the band belt out their tracks. Mad Caddies are a band who have come to have fun, they seem as though they’d still give one hundred and ten percent even if they were playing to a crowd of ten people, this isn’t about making money this is about having a good time and playing music that they clearly love. The Ska genre as a whole is a cult and bands like Mad Caddies and Reel Big Fish will continue to sell out shows wherever they go because they will never sell out (no pun intended) and they will always be in this to have a packed room of fans singing their fucking songs and having a good time.

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By Kimberley Bayliss

Kimberley is Vulture Hound's Live Editor and a Photographer.