2 Tonic - The Brook, Southampton, August 2005by Louise Glyde
The venue reverberated to the splendid sound of Ska. Eastleigh based band 2 Tonic were determined to get the audience as sweaty as they were and succeeded by a mile. There was an electric atmosphere at the Brook, helped by the band's many loyal fans, but lead singer Ralph Cook made everyone feel welcome. In no time at all the place shook to its foundations as everyone was caught up by the infectious beats, including the band - who were completely relaxed and seemed in their element. Everyone knows Ska is pretty much up-beat reggae, and to some it could all sound the same, but not so with 2 Tonic. Keith Weston (drums) kept the small orchestra of six other band members in time and almost became a blur. The bass beat seemed to find the core of the body and the real excitement came when the saxes burst into life. A couple of memorable songs included 'Doesn't Make It Alright', with a moral message against racism, 'Me Daddy Was A Bank Robber', a brilliantly light hearted tune and one for the softies, 'Don't Wanna Be Your Secret Lover'. Of course there were the occasional Madness covers including 'One Step Beyond' and 'Embarrassment' with a few Buster Bloodvessel beats thrown in for good measure. These just added to the general fun atmosphere of the evening. Another incentive to get sweaty was the prize of a new band CD and a 2 Tonic t-shirt. The audience took on the dancing challenge with gusto but one lucky lady on the lower level scooped the prize. To a newcomer, the loyal following could be a little intimidating at first - but that soon ebbs away because the band, particularly Ralph, welcomed everyone with open arms. This band are a must to see live. For future dates see the band's website.