By Simon Smedley
OLDHAM will be rocking to the sound of Ska and 2-Tone on September 25 as ace tribute band Manchester Ska Foundation returns to the venue where it all began.
Providing restrictions ease as planned, Oldham St Anne’s Rugby Club will be packed to the rafters as MSF – led by Failsworth-based front-man Lee Hollister – return to the scene of the massively popular band’s first-ever gig.
Lee said: “It was actually 10 years ago in November just gone since our first gig, so I’ve had it in my mind to get this show sorted for quite a while.
“Myself and my mate Chooi were the founder members of the band, though I’m the sole remaining member nowadays.
“We were both into the Ska and 2-Tone sound of course, but things happened so quick once we’d discussed the idea of possibly getting a full band together.
“Within weeks we were rehearsing together and then we just happened to book our first show at the St Anne’s club.
“We knew we’d be able to drag a few people down to watch us, and I was so nervous beforehand.
“There were so many mixed emotions as this was a brand new band, but it was really busy in the end and we had a good gig.
“It’s funny watching the video back now. We’ve come on so much since then and our sound is so much more polished, but everyone seemed to enjoy that first show.”
Charismatic vocalist Lee is backed by seven hugely talented MSF band members and a genuinely authentic show packed with Ska and 2-Tone mega-hits is guaranteed.
Madness, the Specials, the Beat, the Selecter – all the sights and sounds of an MSF gig – will be given the top-drawer treatment, all for just a fiver.
“We thought it’d be a nice touch to keep the ticket prices the same as they were at that first show,” added Lee.
“So it’s a fiver for a ticket, or £7 on the door, if there’s any room of course.
“All the band members have so missed playing for the fans, that’s been the biggest thing. We love performing, and we know everyone out front is in for a great night.”
The best memory in those 10 years so far for Lee? There’s one that stands out by a mile, and highlights just how popular and well-respected MSF really are.
“I’ll never forget the Great Northern Ska Festival a couple of years ago,” recalled Lee.
“We supported UB40, but when we went on before them I will never forget the sight of 6,000 faces and Ali Campbell and Astro at the side of the stage really getting into us and dancing away.”
To grab your tickets for the anniversary show, call 07957 241368. You can also keep an eye on the MSF Facebook page.