Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, 5/10/2016
published: 8 /
Dave Wakelings 80's ska outfit The English Beat return to Nottingham in good style, lighting up the Rescue Rooms with their own brand of two-tone excellence
Not only has the Bodega cleaned its act up of late but the Rescue Rooms it seems has followed suit. The Rooms have always been a favourite of mine anyway, but it looks like the venue has just got better and better and what better way to see and hear one of the best ska bands to grace the planet than here. It ended up being quite a strange night in a laugh-out loud sort of way.
We walked in with just fifteen minutes on the clock before the main act came on, so it was a bit of a scramble past the already bladdered crowd to the pit. I'd only been there for a couple of minutes sorting my camera out and this bloke taps me on the shoulder from outside and asks me, "How you get in there?" I simply picked up one of the barriers and moved it to one side and he entered rather red-faced and carried on. A bit later he admitted that he must have looked like "a bit of a knobhead." I smiled back.
So, the current line up goes like this - Dave Wakeling (Lead Vocals/Guitar), Nucci Cantrell (Drums/Vocals), Matt Morrish (Sax/Vocals), Kevin Lum (keys/vocals), King Schascha (toasting/great vibes0, Minh Quan (keys/vocals), Brad Engstrom (bass/vocals).
The Beat were instrumental in the late '70s and early '80s in the rise of the ska phenomenon, especially the Two-Tone movement. They made their music along with the likes of The Specials and The Selecter and were successful charters with the albums, 'I Just Can't Stop It' (1980), 'Wha'ppen?' (1981) and 'Special Beat Service' (1982), and they had a string of singles, including 'Mirror in the Bathroom', 'Too Nice to Talk To', 'Can't Get Used to Losing You', 'Hands Off, She's Mine' and 'All Out to Get You', among others.
Anyhow, very soon the main act arrived and the music was in full swing. Instantly the crowd were into it and it was easy for The English Beat to work their way through a set of mostly old material, which was gloriously well-received. I remember singing along to 'Tears of a Clown' and 'Hands Off She's Mine' and I couldn't stop grinning. I was grinning like a sixteen-year-old again.
After the three tracks photographers are allowed in the pit, we made our way up to the balcony where I spent the rest of the night skanking along with the rest of them up there. There were two blokes, one of biggish nature and one sporting a dubious pair of glasses, that were both absolutely plastered. They were spilling beer all over the place until one of the chaps, who clearly stood below all of this, appeared through the doors. He ran over to the two revellers, pulled the bigger one out of the way and did no more than punch the spectacled one right on the button and left as fast as he arrived. The whole balcony stopped for a quick look, and because the Beat had launched into 'Mirror in the Bathroom', turned away and carried on skanking. The Beat never faltered at all and the hits came at us thick and fast.
A great rendition of 'I'll Take you There' was beaten as the best only by the crowd's participation in the Beat hit, credited to Andy Williams, 'Can't Get Used to Losing You'.
The musical content was a dream. They sounded fantastic and the energy they came out with was still there when they went back in. Dave Wakeling's humour shone throughout and the banter between him and the crowd was comical for the duration. This bottle of Corona has the lime in it. Utterly marvellous!
Photos by Dave Goodwin