Calling all rude boys and rude girls!
The venerable English Beat have been revitalized this year with a new toaster — King Schascha. For a 2-tone band, a toaster isn’t mechanical, but in King’s case, he’s certainly electric.
The reggae rhymer from San Diego effectively got the very full house at the 9:30 Club dancing right away on Wednesday, Nov. 25, paving the way for band leader Dave Wakeling and his time-tested repertoire of ska and reggae. They kicked things off with “Rough Rider” from the debut album by the English Beat, 1980’s I Just Can’t Stop It, and the entire audience was moving and grooving from the very first note.
Dave was in fine form. Less chatty than usual, the Englishman took straight to singing “Rough Rider,” strumming away on his iconic Vox Teardrop guitar. King Schascha provides backing vocals and dances all over stage like a born entertainer. And saxophonist Matt Morrish gets an early opportunity to shine as well, bouncing up to the front of the stage to add some jaunty notes to the proceedings.
Watch the English Beat perform “Rough Rider” live at The Gothic Theatre in Englewood, Colo., on May 22, 2015, in a fan-made video:
Clad in matching Fred Perry shirts (the uniform of the English Beat), the entire band was in good form as they jumped through 16 songs or so, striking gold early with numbers like “Twist and Crawl,” another selection from Dave’s debut album in the original lineup of the Beat. The frenetic pace of the song gives the band an opportunity to shine as they come together for a unit to jam along in unison. Guitarist Jared Palazzolo and bassist Larry Young do a great job of keeping pace with Dave as they pick and strum together through the number.
Of course, there are certain songs you want to hear when you go to a show by the English Beat, and those songs include the radio hits like “Save it for Later” and “Mirror in the Bathroom.” On that front, Dave and the English Beat also did not disappoint, playing a spirited rendition of “Save It for Later” around the midpoint of the show. The room lights up to the familiar words of the universally beloved song about “hanging in there.” Drummer Nucci Cantrell does an admirable job of translating the character of the uptempo song into a strong live performance.
Watch Dave Wakeling of the English Beat perform “Save It for Later” solo live on Boston Rock/Talk with Jim Sullivan on Sept. 4, 2015:
Also as expected, the English Beat swing out a bit with the most popular numbers from Dave’s short-lived band General Public, winning the crowd with energetic performances of “I Confess” and “Tenderness.” Keyboardist Kevin Lum, seemingly pleased to remain nondescript in the rear of the stage, nonetheless sprinkles some bright, pleasant notes into the mix during “Tenderness,” punctuating the verses with the signature telltale keys of the song.
I’ll leave you with proof of how well this new version of the English Beat play together with their signature ode to narcissism, “Mirror in the Bathroom.” Be sure to catch the very end of this fan-made video where the excellent King Schascha does some world-class toasting in his introductions of the band.
Watch the English Beat play “Mirror in the Bathroom” live in Laguna Beach, Calif., at the Concert in the Park on July 2, 2015, in a fan-made video:
The English Beat have a very busy tour schedule, as always, traveling throughout the United States and Canada during December. They are at the City Winery in Chicago for a few nights on Dec. 1-2, and then continue racing across the country. You should race to see the latest lineup of the English Beat — one so inspired in fact that Dave Wakeling is releasing the first new English Beat album by his version of the band in more than 30 years in 2016.
The English Beat will make you a believer, and you’ll find yourself singing their praises much like their own talented toaster King Schascha.