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Preview: The Beat

Posted by CeefaxOfLife from Cardiff - Published on 13/02/2011 at 14:29
0 comments » - Tagged as Music

  • The Beat

You can’t go too long when talking about The Beat without mentioning 2-Tone. Bah not even a sentence. If you don’t know what 2-Tone is then it’s a genre that sprang up in the Midlands in the late 70s, which merged reggae and ska influences with punk (The term came from the 2-Tone record label that was established by Jerry Dammers of The Specials in 1979). The Beat released their first single on the label but tended to lean towards a scratchy skank sound rather than The Specials' gloomy ska, or the nutty boy antics of Madness.

Today we’re used to music with multiple and diverse influences but back then that it was a quite a bold step to make, mixing a predominately black music scene with a white one. It was a political step too.

The 70s saw a surge in support of the far-right, as the National Front and the ramifications of Enoch Powell’s Rivers Of Blood speech continued to echo across the country. Switch to today and we have the English Defence League and another conservative politician, David Cameron, expounding the death of multiculturalism.

This is why The Beat still matter. Their sound and message is still relevant today. But The Beat weren’t just agitprop, they were fun too. How could you soundtrack the most iconic scene in the most iconic film of the 80s if you were always down in the dumps? Yeah OK, All Out To Get You is about paranoia and the classic Mirror In The Bathroom refers to cracking up (and not cocaine as is commonly assumed) but never has paranoia and cracking up sounded so damn danceable as they do with The Beat.

Also my dad saw them in the Top Rank on Queen Street in 1978 and said they were bangin’ (or words to that effect). But if you want to find out for yourself then The Beat are playing The Globe, Thursday 24th February. Tickets can be nabbed from here.

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