Wow – did I really first see The Beat play live in 1981? That’s what I thought to myself when I copped the ticket for this one. This particular gig is part of their 30th anniversary tour. They released their first single “Tears of a clown” on 8th Dec 1979 (on the Two Tone label of course).
Now led by Ranking Roger and his son Ranking Junior aka Mini Murphy, The Beat definitely know how to rock a crowd. Judging by the people in the Concorde2 tonight, the band’s fanbase ranges from teenagers to ageing skinheads to 40-somethings like me who saw them first time around. Roger and his son are both great front men and take it in turns to introduce songs, talk to the crowd and generally keep us all hyped up and involved. As you can guess I’m a big fan of artists who acknowledge their audience in this way.
Ranking Junior never lets himself get overshadowed by his old man and dropped some impressive double-time rhyming over a beat that his dad produced. He’s a recording artist in his own right and I’d like to hear more of his own music. What little I have heard so far is quite promising.
Although Roger and powerhouse drummer Everett Moreton are the only two original members still in the band, it’s the songs that have stood the test of time. Most of the set tonight comes from their first album “I just can’t stop it” released in 1980 on the GoFeet label (man, these dates are taking me back to my teenage days). Songs like “Tears of a clown”, “Ranking full stop” and “Mirror in the bathroom” are still great to dance to and these three in particular went down well with the energetic crowd who seemed to be familiar with the whole set list. Halfway through the set the band performed a storming version of “Rock the Casbah” and dedicated it to Joe Strummer which got a huge cheer from the crowd at the Concorde 2.
Always worth going to see, The Beat will appeal to those who’ve been following them for a while and those seeing them for the first time. Unpretentious feel-good music. I’ll have some of that every time. Peace!