The English Beat brought down the house before a near sellout crowd approaching 400 enthused ska fans at The Narrows Center on Wednesday. The band’s current tour celebrates its 40th anniversary, and they delivered exactly what their fans came for.
Formed in England in 1978, the band churned out hit after hit in the early 80’s with albums like I Just Can’t Stop It, Wha’ppen, and Special Beat Service. Unfortunately, they disbanded in 1983 to pursue other musical interests.
The band reformed in 2003 like a roaring flame, led by founding member and King of Ska, Dave Wakeling. The band continues its legacy relentlessly touring North America, the United Kingdom, and beyond.
The group performed a high energy set of their unique fusion of ska, reggae, soul, and rock. They worked their way through their quintessential tunes “Mirror in the Bathroom,” “Save It For Later,” “Hands Off… She’s Mine,” “Twist and Crawl,” as well as some excellent covers of The Staples Singers’ “I’ll Take You There,” and Andy Williams’ “Can’t Get Used to Losing You.”
The atmosphere was electric, as there was dancing in every available space. English Beat “toaster” Antonee First Class, chimed “spread the word… this is the place to be.” At the end of the night, Narrows Executive Director Patrick Norton smiled and announced “the crowd was bangin’ tonight.”
What’s Up Rhode Island was there to bring you a memorable evening of classic 80’s ska beat. See the slideshow below for photos.