Review by Jamie Nicole Rocha and JD Alvarez
If one must look up “longevity” in a dictionary, there is no doubt you will find Dave Wakeling’s photo next to the definition. One could very easily say he is the personification of the definition.
While Roger is touring with Pauline Black and his UK version of the English Beat, Wakeling is touring with the U.S. version. Both front men continue to entertain fans, ranging from those who have been following the band since their first release in 1978, to young rude boys and girls wanting to experience legit two-tone royalty.
At the Galaxy, Not a Chance was the opening act. NAC’s attempt of their suburb teenage angst pseudo-punk rock-ska fell a little flat with the crowd. It was a good effort, but the crowd was poised for Dave and company.
The crowd was filled with a lot of older fans, some brought their teens to the show. The multi- generational fan base that bands like the English Beat command is becoming a trend. Given they have been around for over three decades, the age range is impressive.
Finally, the lights went down and to the loud cheers of the crowd, the English Beat took the stage. The U.S. Line up features Antonee First Class (Toaster / Vocals), Rhythmm Epkins (Drums), Matt Morrish (Sax), Wayne Lothian (Bass), and Ryanier Jacildo (Keys).
Two seconds into the first song the crowd went nuts to Twist and Crawl, followed by their infamous Miracles cover of Tears of a Clown, and the upbeat Hands Off She’s Mine. Antonee provided Grade-A toasting skills during and between the songs and pumps up the crowd by encouraging them to skank and sing-a-long.
Dave and the boys didn’t cheat the crowd. They belted out the Beat’s best tunes and demonstrated why they are solid music makers and pioneers of the two-tone wave. From hits like I Confess to the reggae jam Doors of your Heart to their massively known General Public classic, Tenderness. One of the highlights was hearing them perform Soul Salvation. A song not given much air play, but on rotation on the Beat’s current tour.
The gift that Wakeling has is his charm and likeability factor. He has a way over the crowd and his ability to still make the ladies swoon. This was apparent when security had to attempt to drag off an older fan who jumped onstage to dance and Dave. Without missing a beat (no pun intended), Dave came to her rescue and got between the fan and security to allow the her to continue dancing. The crowd cheered and showed why Dave Wakeling is still very loved by all those who follow this ska legend.
The night was filled with memorable melodies such as Rankin’ Full Stop and Mirror in the Bathroom. When that hard-to-miss bass/guitar intro for Mirror in the Bathroom made its way across the room, the crowd lost its proverbial mind.
The set was almost 2 hours long but the crowd kept dancing like there was no tomorrow. The band finally ended their set with their song Jackpot and it’s hard to imagine that anyone left that night leaving unsatisfied. According to Wakeling, they have no plans to slow down. As long as Two-tone lives on, bands like the English Beat will entertain ska fans, young and old.
In the end, the fans at the Galaxy heard what they came to hear, and the English Beat put on a great show. Thirty years and no signs of slowing down, I think that’s the way their fans like it.