(ENGLISH) BEAT IT

Ska is never dead, OK?

“Can I take you to a restaurant/That’s got glass tables?/You can watch yourself/While you are eating.” Hard to resist that kind of solicitation (“Mirror in the Bathroom”), even three decades later. The Beat (or, as we colonialists more commonly refer to them, the English Beat) were the fulcrum of 2 Tone ska in Birmingham, England, for three short years, starting with their garrulous 1980 debut, I Just Can’t Stop It, and in ensuing hyperpolitical/reggae forays. Then they fully explored their tension, as hinted by the rough interplay of singer Dave Wakeling and rapper Ranking Roger, by flaring up, breaking up, and regularly being bloody cheeks about it. Later dance groups General Public and Fine Young Cannibals rose from these ashes, but still, it’s long overdue for these lads reunited; we’ve missed their moveable feast.
Sat., Aug. 21, 6 p.m., 2010
 
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