The English Beat, Bad Manners, Eleven Fingered Charlie

Thursday, January 22, at the Granada Theater

Hard to believe that it's been 30 years since Ranking Roger and Dave Wakeling first formed The Beat and exposed the disaffected youth of England to the sound of ska. Those were the days when, because of an American band already possessing the name, the band was forced to call itself The English Beat whenever it toured internationally (which, eventually, is how the band came to be known by its current name).

Whatever the moniker, though, the influence of Wakeling and Roger cannot be overstated. Beginning with 1980's I Just Can't Stop It, the band became major stars in England and Australia while creating quite a buzz in the United States. Singles such as "Mirror in the Bathroom" and "Too Nice to Talk To" showcased a gifted band having fun while tackling the thorny issues of unemployment and racial inequality.

Showing a keen understanding of its limitations, the band broke up 1982 with Roger and Wakeling forming the highly regarded General Public. After only two albums, General Public followed the same path as The English Beat, with each member also achieving limited success as a solo act.

Needless to say, since 2003, the band discovered financial considerations enough of a reason to reform and tour, although a group of individuals this talented certainly doesn't need an excuse to play: On this night at the Granada, the beats will be solid, the politics earnest and the crowd surely compensated for whatever trifle they are asked to part with at the front door.

 
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