Doing a cover of Madness’ ‘One Step Beyond’ at my school’s version of Stars In Their Eyes was enough to reaffirm my love of classic 80’s ska. Bands like the Specials and Madness influenced not only me, but countless of UK ska bands around today, such as Sonic Boom Six, The King Blues and The Skints.
So when I saw an advert that described Buster Shuffle’s ‘Our Night Out’ as like ‘Madness’ early days,’ my favourite Madness period, I knew I had to check them out! The album has been out since 2009, and since then they seem to have developed quite a fan base, and have been touring with the likes of The Holloways and The Wombats
The first thing to hit you is lead vocalist Jethro Baker’s punchy and original cockney accent. The band have even been described as ‘more English than the Queen,’ which embodies itself in the cheeky, carefree lyrics of songs like ‘Maneater’ and ‘You’re Alright’ His lyrics are simple, yet still funny, clever and infectiously catchy. Baker’s voice adds a touch of fun and a ‘cheeky chappy’ tone to every song. He is also the pianist of the group, and it is the piano which really helps the band stand out from some of today’s other ska and rock bands.
Baker took advantage of his piano skills with an impromptu busking session with him and his band mates, utilising the ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ scheme set up in 2008 with the aim of bringing people together through music in cities across the globe. The band played mini-gigs at 10 different pianos in London, before being rudely cut short and moved on by the police??!! Personally, when the piano actually has ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ written all over it, it seems like an opportunity not to be wasted?
Anyway, you can see the video from their street performances below:
The album itself is incredibly short, at only 28 minutes, yet every song is packed full of fun and energy, making every minute worthwhile! Whilst the album ventures little further than the title suggests lyrically – Our Night Out – it is not music designed to be listened to for its deep lyrical content, it was made to have fun to, however Baker’s lyrics are far from bad – they are really clever and witty, and I can guarantee you’ll walk away in a much better mood with a smile on your face – what more could you want?
Check out the unique cover of the Jerry Lee Lewis Classic here. It really shows off what the band are capable of, even on such a tiny stage! (You might want to skip to about 1:30!)