The English Beat, at the Ace of Spades, Sacramento, on December 14th 2012.
Ska and skankin' and rankin' and toast. Two Tone and Madness and the Specials and riots and Ghost Town; Birmingham and Coventry, England in the late 1970's, and in the center of it all, The Beat. Known in the USA as, "The English Beat", because there was another "The Beat" here in the USA back-in-the-day, and it was too confusing for somebody. And there have been many incarnations and reincarnations of the band; Dave Wakeling mostly touring in the USA with The English Beat, Ranking Roger in the UK, Special Beat, UK Beat in Australia: it gets confusing, which are just names, which are different lineups? And then there was the offspring; Fine Young Cannibals with the amazing Roland Gift. But I digress...
What we saw and heard on Thursday at the Ace of Spades was the true (English) Beat sound: such happy, happy music, even though sometimes the words are sad, you have to smile and dance. No sulking in the dark corners; it's moving-to-the-beat music. Unforgettable covers of "Tears of a Clown", and Andy Williams' "Can't Get Used to Losing You". And "Hands Off She's Mine", "Stand Down Margaret", and more. Ska makes me smile: Dave Wakeling makes me grin, and this week more than anything, hearing a Birmingham accent carried me back home and cheered me up and made me laugh out loud. Toaster Antonee First Class was fantastic. I loved the show.
I should have worn my pork-pie hat and black-and-white check socks. Some of the audience did. And everyone was very obviously and thoroughly enjoying themselves.
Many more photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alisontoon/sets/72157632260227471/
And don't forget the support acts:
- Street Urchinz, from Sacramento, wonderfully fun and energetic; look/listen out for them!
- The Mark Sexton Band, from Reno, more smooth, soulful reggae.
Excellent evening at the Ace of Spades, Shame there were not more people there for the early acts, they missed a real treat. But the venue was full in time for a great show by The English Beat.