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Live review: THE ENGLISH BEAT in Bristol

2 Tone ska revivalists THE ENGLISH BEAT finally made it to Bristol last week for a rare performance at the O2 Academy.

Despite their US focus these days, it’s clear from the decent turnout that original lead singer Dave Wakeling and his Californian band remain a top draw on the live ska circuit.

The band, which is now co-fronted by London-born toaster Antonee First Class, wasted no time ripping straight into “Ranking Full Stop”, moving on to “Twist & Crawl”, “Hands Off She's Mine” and “Save It For Later”. 

Half-way through the set we were treated to three SPECIALS songs featuring guest guitarist Roddy "Radiation” Byers, including “Concrete Jungle”, “Hey, Little Rich Girl” and “Rat Race”.

The special night was rounded off with hits “Too Nice To Talk To”, “Tears Of A Clown” and “Mirror In The Bathroom”.

While the Ranking Roger-fronted version of THE BEAT is excellent and regularly tours the UK, it’s a novelty and pleasure to hear these songs delivered live by the original singer.

According to the ENGLISH BEAT website the current touring line-up includes:

  • Dave Wakeling - lead vocals/guitar
  • Rhythmm Epkins - drums/vocals
  • Antonee First Class - toaster
  • Matt Morrish - sax/vocals
  • Kevin Lum - keys/vocals
  • Larry Young - bass/vocals