Rob Jones

The English Beat (TEB) consist of Dave Wakeling – vocals, guitar and original leading light of The Beat; King Schascha – toasting; Nucci Cantrell – drums, vocals; Matt Morrish – sax, vocals; Kevin Lum – keys, vocals; Minh Quan – keys, vocals; and, Brad Engstrom – bass, vocals. This seven piece unite to offer a 2016 life to those ska-pop anthems that Wakeling helped bring to our heads and hearts in the late 70’s and early 80’s. As Wakeling’s yesteryear sidekick Ranking Roger leads a version of The Beat what can the this alternative produce to a full house at Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff?

The answer is a bounteous plethora of brilliant pop!

At a time when ska has lost a founding father in Prince Buster this sad loss has led TEB to doff a united pork pie hat to the great man. Covers of Rough Rider as well as Whine and Grine offered fitting tributes and these infectious rhythms helped forge several careers e.g. The Specials, Madness, The Selector and The Beat.  The latter tune even incorporated band anthem Stand down Margaret (the yesteryear call for the resignation of the late British leader and enemy of many Mrs. Thatcher).

TEB via The Beat have a fine back catalogue and their versions of Tears of a Clown (Smokey Robinson & The Miracles) plus Can’t get used to losing You (Andy Williams) provided a couple of their most exclusive Top of the Pops memories. That is not to take away from the impact of hits with the double ‘A’ side being a strong feature in this CV. Mirror in the Bathroom, Too nice to take Too, Best Friend, Save it for Later, Hands off she’s Mine, Twist and Crawl plus Ranking Full Stop get the crowd to bump and bounce with the feeling the upstairs floor of the venue could collapse under the momentum. The ammunition for a pop master class was correct and present.

There is no need to worry because Dave can still cut the mustard and although many musical moons have passed since the halcyon days of chart glory his amalgamation of associates still has plenty of gusto. This crew can spark dance fever at the drop of a Harrington jacket.  To ad to which The Fred Perry clothing line is certainly a beneficiary of this evening as TEB are fully decked in the relevant t-shirts and a scan of the audience spots many more iconic items. Along the way the main man also quips with the audience and even though this is not a solo show the punters have come out to see him-because he was the bones of The Beat. 

There are many more magic moments including the meeting of I’ll take you There (The Staple Singers) with The Liquidator (Harry J’s Allstars). The set shone brightly as other beats from the back catalogue were wed with selections of new material. A full and fervent Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff certainly enjoyed themselves; and, as this act spends a lot of time in America such an opportunity to ‘skank’ may be a unique one. Members of the crowd get up on stage and a dynamic brass duo from the lively support band Upbeat Sneakers also join proceedings as a lot of sweat soaked the settings. Middle aged rude boys and rude girls were unable to resist the opportunity to rocksteady. Therefore, a happy happening is the end result of a Special Beat Service!