Many years ago I spent what little money I had on some flat round plastic discs that featured music by a band called The Beat
Since those heady days Dave Wakeling has been exiled all the way over in 'murica so when I heard he was to appear at The Old Firestation it was a must do to go along and see how the old fella was getting on.
Alongside a hoped for selection of Beat numbers it was an added attraction to see old friends of G&B The Lost Boys. First up on stage in front of a growing crowd it was good to see that they managed to survive a sick drummer by recruiting a fine stand in. Don't think anyone will have noticed because with only 3 days notice to learn the songs he was great.
The Lost Boys are well worth checking out https://www.facebook.com/thelostboysofficial
I was looking forward to seeing The Spitfires as they were a new one on me. I certainly wasn't disappointed as they have a real early Jam feel about them, angry and strident they were a perfect foil for The English Beat later.
Battling manfully against some hideous sound problems frontman Billy Sullivan powered through a set of top quality songs.
The Spitfires are one I'll certainly keep an eye on and you can find them here http://www.thespitfires.org/
Finally following a complete backline change and full swap of monitors we were treated to the appearance of The English Beat fronted by original Beat member Dave Wakeling.
From the off it was clear that Dave was up for a bit of a laugh and began a set full of banter with the audience. From talking to people in the crowd I could tell there were a lot of fans there from way back and there was a very friendly atmosphere in the place.
It was interesting to see the contrast between the two support bands and the headliners. Wakeling is a pro and has a serious amount of experience. He worked the crowd well and the band were good even if not all of them are 'English'!
Once again there were massive sound traumas and to be honest they pretty much destroyed the flow of what could have been a storming set. Sasha, taking the Ranking Roger role was brilliant in doing toasting style fills whilst sound swapped out numerous leads but the flow was most distinctly lost.
Wakeling deserved to lose the plot and throw a hissy fit but, like the trooper he is he ploughed on through with good grace and humour. A lesson for other bands who may have had a bit of a cow about it all.
The back catalogue of Beat songs is full of quality and eminently singable and sing the audience did.
Comedy moment of the night was watching Dave's manager Deborah frantically trying to stop people take videos with cellphones. She enlisted the help of security in the end which has to be the ultimate in pretentiousness. (is that a word? it is now)
Initially she asked me not to video which I did because to be frank, if an artist is so stupid as to think they need less publicity then that's an issue for them but the idea that anyone can stop the cellphone culture has to be the wishful thinking of the year.
Legally I think she was on shaky ground because we're allowed to use video for editorial use, morally she was being a twat because there were a lot of annoyed Dave Wakeling fans around. So I have video but it'll never see the light of day.
Anyway, sound problems aside they made a decent fist of it and I chose not to shoot any more stills and just enjoy the show.
They weren't as good as The Beat at Larmer tree though ! 🙂
Some of the shots from a somewhat dingily lit Old Firestation