Sat 26 May — Luv80s
Main Stage in association with More Radio
The story of UB40, and how this group of young friends from Birmingham transcended their working-class origins to become the world’s most successful reggae band is not the stuff of fairytales as might be imagined. The group’s led a charmed life in many respects it’s true, but it’s been a long haul since the days they’d meet up in the bars and clubs around Moseley, and some of them had to scrape by on less than £8 a week unemployment benefit. The choice was simple if you’d left school early. You could either work in one of the local factories, like Robin Campbell did, or scuffle along aimlessly whilst waiting for something else to happen.
By the summer of 1978, something else did happen, and the nucleus of UB40 began rehearsing in a local basement. Robin’s younger brother Ali, Earl Falconer, Brian Travers and James Brown all knew each other from Moseley School of Art, whilst Norman Hassan had been a friend of Ali’s since school. Initially, they thought of themselves as a "jazz-dub-reggae" band, but by the time Robin was persuaded to join and they’d recruited Michael Virtue and Astro – who’d learnt his craft with Birmingham sound-system Duke Alloy – the group had already aligned themselves to left-wing political ideals and forged their own identity, separate from the many punk and Two Tone outfits around at that time. The group had nailed their colours to the mast by naming themselves after an unemployment benefit form. Their political convictions hadn’t been gleaned secondhand either, but cemented in place whilst attending marches protesting against the National Front, or rallies organised by Rock Against Racism.
This year UB40 have had yet another busy tour schedule including such places as, USA, Italy, Germany, Spain and Slovakia to name a few. In between this extensive touring schedule they have also been having a great time recording "Labour of Love IV," which they have now completed and it is due for release in February 2010. Along side this they have also made time to do a benefit gig at the Rainbow pub in Digbeth, Birmingham. The gig that took place on the 3rd of November was to help the Rainbow raise money to sound proof their roof as they had a noise abatement order slapped on them by Birmingham Council. Needless to say this was a resounding success and not only raised a lot of money for an extremely good cause, it gave around 500 fans an opportunity to see the band up close and personal for the first time in many years. UB40 are now in rehearsals for the much anticipated UK tour which begins in Killarney on 19th November.
Find out more about UB40