The English Beat | 07/10/16 | Music Photography in Cornwall | Zone Night Club, Redruth
ABOVE : The English Beat's Dave Wakeling from the legendary British two tone Ska band, playing in Cornwall during their UK tour. Greenbeanz British Music Photography
Some bands need no introduction. The English Beat are one of those bands.
Their influence runs deep and in to less obvious channels, from dance and electronic music and the Ska chequered multifaceted genres it has spawned, to the jangly guitar sounds of indie bands like the La's and Stone Roses and even US Rock artists like Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam on the other side of the pond.
ABOVE : The English Beat UK Tour. Dave Wakeling's trademark White Vox teardrop guitars
Julian Barnes writing as Shostakovich in The Noise of Time remarked that
“In Jewish folk music, despair is disguised as the dance”
It is a very clever insight and one that could certainly be applied to the whole two tone movement in the British Ska revival that lit up the disunited kingdom of the late 1970's.
ABOVE : Reggae star King Schascha with The English Beat on their 2016 UK Tour
The English Beat were certainly at the front of that charge, preceding many of the bands that defined the inner city sound of the early 80's, but were always much more than, just another Ska band. The peerless songwriting of Dave Wakeling and the melancholia he manges to coax out of his white teardrop guitar have ensured that those songs are now part of the great British songbook, as vital and powerful now as when they splashed over the airwaves in the bands heyday.
ABOVE : The English Beat in UK Concert Photograph by Greenbeanz Photography Plymouth
Opening up with Rough Rider the pedigree is quite clear, the topical tropical Haitian Creole is still there as it is in Prince Busters version and you know from the start that this is a band that understands subtlety, feel and nuance. Dave Wakeling apologises to Smokey Robinson before launching into Tears of a clown but there is a soulful lightness that imbues all these songs, from the Tamla Mowtown covers like “I'll take you there”, to the English Beat Originals.
ABOVE : Matt Morrish on saxophone with The English Beat at Zone Night Club Redruth
Save it for later is sung impeccably and though it has been some years since the band last graced these shores, their legs show no sign of failing or letting anybody down. In fact there is rumoured to be a new album on the way, and the relevance of songs like Stand down Margaret in 2016 is very clear even before the Midlands minstrel himself, reminds us all of the recently released Hillsborough and Miners Strike reports.
ABOVE : Dave Wakeling of The English Beat Sings on stage in Cornwall during UK Tour
People can very easily get snooty about covers, often to mask the lazy colour by numbers, rote way, they may have approached songs themselves in bands before. The covers here though, are a shining example of how to re-invent solid songs, for an entirely different audience. A tribute to recently passed authors like Prince Buster (and the hurricane victims) with the opener, and Andy Williams with the double speed Half beat version of Can't get used to losing you, (complete with whistled outro and some exquisite wah wah chops punctuating the middle eight), demonstrates just how fresh and uplifting a reinterpretation can be.
ABOVE : The English Beat's Keyboard Player Devon and Cornwall UK Concert Photography
Rankin Full Stop lifts the entire venue both physically and emotionally off their feet and when you have a back catalogue that includes songs as well crafted as Too nice to talk to, Twist and Crawl, and Hand's Off She's Mine, then it is no surprise that you can get the entire audience jumping in sync. The band then play a blistering version of Mirror in the Bathroom , complete with an incredible Sax break, a timely reminder that even now mental illness is often the hidden sibling that precedes or accompanies the vacuous stuff that parades itself around as culture.
ABOVE : The English Beat UK, Min Quan, Dave Wakeling, King Schascha and Kevin Lum
The English Beat are incredibly generous in spirit and action, giving the fans the staples, and a sprinkling of less familiar material, and allowing members of The Mighty Offbeats ( who delivered a great support set) to join them on stage for a couple of songs. You could feel and see that same genuine generosity and solidarity with the fans demonstrated when King Schascha leapt off the stage to embrace the fans as the band played out.
ABOVE : The Englsih Beat's backing singer on their 2016 UK Tour at Redruth in Cornwall
It's all too easy to be cynical in today's Britain, but The English Beat, whilst not claiming to be anyone's sole salvation, still know how to bring people together and make a lovely noise in this world.
ABOVE : The English Beat captured by Greenbeanz Photography Quality UK Music Photos
You can find even more photographs of The English Beat playing live in Cornwall here
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