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Dance Craze

Dance Craze, shot throughout 1980 and released in cinemas the following year, brilliantly captures the cultural phenomenon that was the 2 Tone movement and represents an important social document of the times. Directed by Joe Massot (The Song Remains the Same, 1976) and filmed by Bafta award-winning cinematographer Joe Dunton, it showcases the very best of British ska, with exclusive live performances from The Specials, Madness, The Selecter, The Beat, Bad Manners, and The Bodysnatchers.

Initially intended to focus solely on Madness, whom Massot had met on their first US tour, the film would grow to encompass the entirety of the nascent 2 Tone movement, capturing the sweaty zeal of the music by filming onstage with the musicians themselves.

Founded in Coventry by Jerry Dammers of The Specials, 2 Tone Records, and its namesake genre, combined the spiky energy and socially-conscious lyricism of punk and new wave with the sounds being imported by Britain’s growing, yet systemically marginalized, Afro-Caribbean community: Jamaican ska, rocksteady, and reggae. However, unlike the punk movement, 2 Tone would be truly egalitarian: multiracial, as its name suggested, and breaking with rock music’s archaic custom of female ostracism. A resounding rebuke of Thatcherite Britain and, over 40 years later, still an ideal and an inspiration.

Blurring the lines between film and concert, our showing of Dance Craze will be projected onstage in front of an open dance floor, so you can experience the exhilaration of those seminal shows firsthand. Join us at Lokal Bar, where we invite you to sing and dance along to “the best of British ska… Live!”

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