Concert Review: The English Beat

Hard Rock Café on the Strip, March 13

The English Beat started the first show of their North American tour with an ode to a wild lover: their popular reggae tune “Rough Rider.” The highly regarded ska revivalist group of the ’70’s and ’80s combined roaring saxophone with island beats, while Dave Wakeling’s vocal percussion provided audiences a sound worthy of “skanking” to. The performance brought in a mixed crowd of older people who have been listening to ska since its infancy and the younger ones to whom ska has been passed down via Reel Big Fish and Streetlight Manifesto. The Beat’s (that’s their name in England) cover of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ “Tears of a Clown” was a hit with the audience, as was Ranking Junior’s toasting peppered in between songs. Most ska bands live short, fast lives, but English Beat’s tour, more than 20 years past their heyday, shows their spark hasn’t burned out yet. ★★★☆☆

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