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Rocksteady to both a visual and musical documentary of the big shot's of the English 2-Tone movement of the late 1970s that has the exhaustive, high-energy performances exploding onto stage. Jump, shout, twist and crawl and dance to the tunes of Ska and its anthems of its rough riders and three-minute heroes captivated in the moment of a generation of England's concrete jungles and razor blade alley's. No longer on your radio but now on stage, together, with the likes of Madness, The Specials and The Beat et al, this concert footage of an era is a must-see, rare and fascinating look into a once vibrant youth culture of working-class England and its musical dance craze. Written by
Pauline Black - The Selecter:
[to the crowd]
Right, who here gets up at seven o'clock in the morning? Do you work in factories? Are you ever 3 minutes late? You'll like this one then..."Three Minute Hero".
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Dance Craze was released in February 1981, the idea originally came from American director Joe Massot (who shot the Wonderwall film), when he met Madness during their first US tour. Originally he was going to make a film about the band but when his son informed him of the wonderful world of 2-Tone, Massot expanded his original plans to include the whole movement.
The film was shot during 1980 and followed Madness, The Specials, The Selecter, The Bodysnatchers, The Beat and Bad Manners on tour throughout the UK. Sadly the film sticks to concert footage and there are no backstage interviews with the bands, this was a real opportunity missed as a documentary style film would have been a wonderful document of the 2-Tone movement. The film gives it's audience no time to catch their breath, cutting from one song to the next in the bat of an eye, this is where backstage footage could have vastly improved the movie.
In all there are 27 songs (counting 2 versions of Nite Klub), of which 6 come from Camdens finest, and 5 from the Specials. A soundtrack LP was issued on 2-Tone Records to coincide with the release, although some of the tracks are different recordings than those featured in the film. Half way through the film there is a somewhat odd intermission, black and white footage featuring old dances such as the Locomotion, the Twist and so on appears, maybe fitting in with the films theme, but hardly appealing to the 2-Tone audience who would pay at the door.
The film eventually opened in Sheffield on February the 15th 1981, by which time the initial 2-Tone boom had, inevitably, died down. The soundtrack album spent 15 weeks on the chart reaching a high of number 5, underlining the fact that 2-Tone was not a spent force, a fact that was further verified that troubled summer when the Specials released 'Ghost Town'.
The film was released on home video by Chrysalis in 1988 and, if not as good as it should have been, is still an invaluable document of the bands live performances, which is where most of the Ska-2-Tone bands excelled.
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