Starring Dave Wakeling
The Limelight 2, Belfast
Tues 4th September 2018
Tickets £22.50 + bf on sale now – buy yours here.
The Beat starring Dave Wakeling return to Belfast for the first time since 1983 on Tues 04 September at The Limelight 2 with local guests The Skallions.
The appearance is in support of their first studio album since 1982. Released on 11 May 2018 via Absolute, ‘Here We Go Love’, is a brand-new collection of 13 vital songs that have their feet in the here and now, but lose none of the fire and frenzy of those timeless immediate classics that made the band’s name. The first single from the album will be ‘How Can You Stand There?’ on 6 April. The band also tour the UK in 2018 [dates below]. As engaged and switched on as ever, Dave Wakeling’s lyrics draw from observing life; and given the tumultuous events of recent months his thoughts on what holds us together, but also the impermanence that underscores the human condition have never been more relevant. ‘Here We Go Love’ has been crafted over the last two years in breaks from touring, Wakeling and the band having performed around a thousand shows. The band’s reputation, and of course, live prowess, has already been recognised with them taking a prominent role in this year’s ‘Hootenanny’, the BBC and Jools Holland’s New Year musical TV showcase.
Wakeling’s ability to create a nagging pop hook is undimmed, as too is his political edge. Blending wit and wisdom, and of course Ska, Punk, Soul, Reggae, Pop and anything else that came to hand in the melting pot that was late 70s Birmingham, The Beat were ahead of the time and creating a hybrid sound that came in part to define their times. With five Top 10 singles to their name, their first two albums ‘Just Can’t Stop It’ and ‘Whap’pen’ both bounded to #3 in the charts and their rise continued to the point where they could fill arenas across America. They were, as vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Wakeling recalls, “An incongruous set of people from all different cultures and upbringings.” When the Birmingham sextet first hit the charts in 1979, joint-frontman Ranking Roger was just sixteen-years-old while saxophonist Saxa, who had played with the likes of Desmond Dekker and Prince Buster, was pushing fifty.
‘Here We Go Love’ references that vitality, whilst refracting through the prism of experience, and is packed with a fizzing energy and intent right from the start. Thematically, Wakeling explores the outer regions of what it means to be alive in the here and now; notions of love, self, identity, and of course politics. ‘The One And Only’ examines, “the Donald Trump in all of us. Like it or not, the vast majority of white men in America voted for him.” While the music rolls on a tight groove from the live band, a handful of special guests make a significant contribution too – notably Roddy ‘Radiation’ Byers of The Specials and The Skabilly Rebels, Train guitarist Luis Maldonado and backing vocalists Durga McBroom, Kevin Williams and Jelani Jones. Wakeling even sought input from The Beat’s late saxophonist Saxa. Although encumbered by a tendon injury which meant he couldn’t play, he hummed some saxophone melodies which Wakeling incorporated into the album to maintain a taste of his musical flavour.
The release of ‘Here We Go Love’ represents a culmination of a lengthy journey for Wakeling, a man who has been described as “a singer-songwriter as savagely witty as Elvis Costello” (Rolling Stone) and who “ought to be spoken of in the same breath as Weller and Strummer in the post-punk pantheon of heroes” (The Quietus). Honouring The Beat’s roots, without being beholden to the past, Dave Wakeling’s reappraisal starts here. ‘Here We Go Love’, and of course the UK live dates, offer fans the chance to reconnect with a truly essential British act. A band that matters.