Originally known as Edward the Second and the Red Hot Polkas, the original 8-piece band split up in 1999, only to reform a year later with a return to their unique mix of English folk, world music and reggae.
Since then Edward II have gone through a number of changes in their line-up and further periods when they were no longer active. The band came together again in 2015, however, re-invigorated by the discovery of the Manchester Broadsides: the history and stories of Manchester throughout the Industrial Revolution.
Still upbeat, and with rock-steady rhythms, blazing horns, fabulous harmonies and fiery melodeon melodies, elements of the Manchester Broadsides have now been incorporated into a new set.
Not surprisingly, many of the themes are still relevant today with songs of love, loss, poverty and political rights featuring heavily, but in the hands of Edward II, these have been turned into an uplifting celebration of the working people who really forged Manchester and transformed Britain into an Industrial powerhouse.
The songs have been completely reworked into modern roots reggae classics, featuring Glen Latouche’s seductively honeyed lead vocals at the fore and a rock solid rhythm section led by T Carthy providing the irresistible force at the rear. Of course, the band still roam free across the musical spectrum, bringing in dashes of jazz and soul alongside the reggae and folk, but always with an air of good humor and, more than anything, a desire to make you dance.
Whatever has changed, Edward II remains a great live act that’s certain to bring the audience to their feet.