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The Specials to Headline Huge Millennium Square Show in 2017

· Joseph Sheerin · Music

Two of the most influential bands of all time play in Leeds in May 2017.

The Specials

Ska legends The Specials join forces with reggae icons Toots and The Maytals for a huge Leeds concert.

After the likes of Ocean Colour Scene, The Cribs and The Magic of Motown invaded Millennium Square this past summer to great acclaim, the first show for 2017 has just been announced. It sees two of the most influential bands of all time join forces for the very first time as ska revival heroes The Specials are joined by reggae favourites Toots and the Maytals for one of three huge UK outdoor shows next summer.

Sandwiched in between dates in Birmingham and Hertfordshire on the same weekend, the two bands will take to the Millennium Square stage on Saturday 27th May 2017. It marks the first time since 2014 that The Specials have played in the city, despite extensive UK tours in the meantime.

The headliners have been a powerful musical force since forming in 1977, thanks to their unique blend of irresistible ska melodies with a fervent political stance that perfectly summed up the times in which they grew up in. Even if it wasn’t the brightest outlook, their words provided important social commentary back then, and perhaps their words are as relevant today.

Their self-titled record has been regarded as one of the great debut albums, and its content backs that thinking up. From the likes of ‘A Message to You Rudy’ to ‘Little Bitch’, ‘Concrete Jungle’ and ‘Too Much Too Young’, they’re songs that defined a generation and have undoubtedly influenced the generations that have followed since. But, The Specials wouldn’t be the band they are if it wasn’t for the group that will be coming on before them, as is proven by the Coventry band’s covers of ‘Pressure Drop’ and ‘Monkey Man’.

Toots and the Maytals were early pioneers of the original ska sound in Jamaica during the 1960s, and were the first band to use the word ‘reggae’ in a song for ‘Do the Reggay’. That only touches the surface, however, of a band who have stood the test of time, with the likes of ’54-46 Was My Number’ a fine example of just how they led the way for The Specials and their peers to follow.

More acts are expected to join the bill between now and May, but the chance to see two of the biggest names in British music over the past 50 years is not one to pass up. The Specials and Toots and the Maytals are a double act to provide one of the highlights of 2017.

The Specials and Toots and the Maytals play Millennium Square on Saturday 27th May 2017. Tickets go on sale on Wednesday 16th November 2016 at 9am.