Mr Kyps, Poole

The English Beat

First, a quick recap. The Beat was formed at the fag end of the seventies in Birmingham by vocalist/guitarist Dave Wakeling, guitarist Andy Cox, bass player David Steele, drummer Everett Morton, toaster Ranking Roger and original ska legend, saxophonist Saxa. The band became leading lights in the ska, with punk attitude hybrid, 2 Tone, named after a record label founded by Jerry Dammers, along with their contemporaries The Specials, The Selecter, The Bodysnatchers and Madness. The original line-up lasted a mere five years and recorded three albums “I Just Can’t Stop It”, “Wh’appen'” and “Special Beat Service”, scored a number of hit singles and toured the world. The band split in 1983 with Everett Morton and Saxa going on to form the International Beat, Andy Cox and David Steele found success with Roland Gift in the Fine Young Cannibals and Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger formed General Public with former Clash guitarist Mick Jones, bassist Horace Panter from The Specials plus Mickey Billingham on keys and drummer Stoker, both from Dexys Midnight Runners. Eventually, all three bands expired and the Beat legacy lay dormant until a reformation in 2003, sans Cox and Steele, toured the UK culminating in a highly charged night at the Royal Festival Hall, London. Since those heady days, two versions of the band have flourished, Ranking Rogerís Beat, based in the UK and Dave Wakelingís English Beat based in the US and it was the latter that visited Kyps on Saturday, the last night of a fourteen date British tour.

Warm up came from local ska band Rat Race and a fine job they did too. The nine-piece delivered a solid set of old covers such as The Skatalites “Guns of Navarone”, Prince Buster’s “Al Capone”, Laurel Aitken’s “Sally Brown”, later covered by Bad Manners who’s “Lip Up Fatty” also featured, Elias and His Zig Zag Jive Flutes “Tom Hark”, a well-worn chant from the football terraces that was taken into the top ten by The Piranhas, The Specials “Ghost Town”, a sop to the twenty-first century in Paulo Nutini’s “Ten Out of Ten” and the ubiquitous Toots and the Maytals “Monkey Man”. Originally ska was never about the lyrics until 2 Tone brought a political edge and an anti-racism stance to the party as embraced by tonightís headliners The Beat, but more about getting the feet moving and Rat Race did that in spades, job done, crowd nicely primed.

Rat Race
Rat Race 

There was a time, many years ago when a room full of Ben Sherman shirts, bovver boots and braces would have brought me out in a cold sweat, having long hair was not a good look to sport back in the days when gangs of marauding skinheads visited Bournemouth for the weekend looking for a couple of soft hippy’s to pummel senseless. Thankfully those days are long gone and the Rude boys and girls were out in force, packing Kyps to the rafters and looking forward to a hard nights skanking. To that end, the lights went down, Dave Wakeling appeared out of the gloom, strapped on his trademark Vox Teardrop guitar and kicked off proceedings with a tentative “Rough Rider” that was dogged with sound problems. The glitches were quickly ironed out and the band launched into their first single, a turbocharged cover of Smokey’s “Tear of a Clown”, closely followed by “Hands Off She’s Mine” and “Twist and Crawl”. The eight musician’s bass, drums, two keyboards, tenor sax and Dave’s daughter Chloe on backing vocals put in sterling performances supporting the voice of The Beat, Wakeling, but no one worked harder than toaster King Schascha, who did his utmost to fill the large shoes of Ranking Roger by jumping around the stage, endlessly tossing his ample dreadlocks, rapping between songs and generally whipping up the excitement, particularly during his rendition of “Rude Boy Skank”.

The English Beat
The English Beat 1

And the hits kept coming, a sprightly “Too Nice to Talk To”, “Whine and Grine / Stand Down Margaret”, a call to Thatcher to sling her hook, but as Dave mentioned she chose to ignore his advice, a speedy “Save it For Later” which has been covered by The Who and Pearl Jam and the singalong Andy William’s classic, “Can’t Get Used to Losing You”, the crowd were lapping it up. After “Best Friend” there was a slight dip in energy levels for “The Doors of Your Heart”, then the build-up began to the climax of the show with “Two Swords”, “Akee1-2-3”, “Sole Salvation”, a stonking “Ranking Full Stop” and probably their best song, “Mirror in the Bathroom” complete with the Rat Race brass section joining in.

The evening ended with more of a murmur than a scream, during ëJackpotí Dave left the stage, Schascha introduced the band and then they were gone, calls for more were ignored and the house lights came up to sporadic boos. You can understand the disappointment, nearly two hours of non-stop hits flew by and the audience didnít want it to stop. Wakeling has thrown down the gauntlet, itís now up to Ranking Roger, who brings his version of The Beat to the O2 in Boscombe on Friday 24th November along with The Selecter, to pick it up. As that annoying TV advert states, Go compare!

The English Beat

The Beat Line Up
Dave Wakeling: Vocals / Guitar
Matt Morrish: Sax / Vocals
Kevin Lum: Keys / Vocals
King Schascha: Toaster
Brian “Nucci” Cantrell: Drums
Minh Quan: Keys / Vocals
Brad Engstrom: Bass / Vocals
Chloe Wakeling: Vocals

Set List
The Beat
Rough Rider
Tears of a Clown
Hands offÖSheís Mine
Twist and Crawl
Rude Boy Skank
Too Nice to Talk To
Whine and Grine / Stand Down Margaret
Click Click
Save it For Later
Canít Get Used to Losing You
Best Friend
Doors of Your Heart
Two Swords
Sole Salvation
Ranking Full Stop
Mirror in the Bathroom

Rat Race
This is Ska
Message to You Rudy
Rat Race
Lip Up Fatty
Watermelon Man
Ten Out of Ten
Ghost Town
Guns of Navarone
Sally Brown
Tom Hark
Long Shot Kick the Bucket
Al Capone
Wooly Bully
Monkey Man
The Israelites



Words by John Cherry
Videos by sharon Cakir

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