The English Beat | House of Blues | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: 2009
Price: $20-$22
The unexpected late-90s chart success of SoCal-style third-wave ska eventually paid off, in that it made possible the subsequent pop sorcery of Gwen Stefani, but it also ran the genre into the ground—since then, most folks who don’t wear porkpie hats or skater shorts have avoided the stuff like it was radioactive. But time heals all wounds, and plenty of people who aren’t already permanent ska fans seem just about ready to give it another chance—helped along, I suspect, by the success of Vampire Weekend’s quasi-ska single “A-Punk.” If you’re one of those people, you might want to start with first-wave British two-tone bands like the Beat, conveniently referred to as the English Beat here in the States—unlike, say, Reel Big Fish, they make music that meaningfully overlaps with the original Jamaican style, albeit juiced up with a taut pop sensibility borrowed from punk and a nervy, occasionally slightly paranoid energy inherited from the mods. Singer and guitarist Dave Wakeling, now a Californian, is the only member of the band that’s coming to town tonight who played in the Beat’s original lineup—vocalist Ranking Roger and drummer Everett Morton lead their own UK version of the group—but the catalog he has at his disposal, full of killer tunes like “Mirror in the Bathroom,” “Too Nice to Talk To,” and “Ranking Full Stop,” is so unfuckwithable that pretty much anyone could squeeze a fun set out of it. —Miles Raymer



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