The English Beat: Show Preview

At its core, the 2 Tone ska scene in 1980s England championed diversity, tenacity, and smarts, and none of its bands combined those traits as seamlessly as the English Beat. When rude boys started using the Birmingham-bred band's concerts as battlegrounds, the Beat commissioned artist Hunt Emerson to design the "Beat Girl," a logo of a young, conservatively dressed female ska aficionado. After employing this insignia, the band saw more women at its shows, which calmed the fighting. Really, though, ska fans of all backgrounds had reason to adore the Beat, as its instrumentation found an agreeable sweet spot between reggae, punk, and pop rock — and Dave Wakeling had a knack for sharp, self-aware lyricism. After going kaput in 1983 at the peak of its success, the band regrouped in 2003, only to split apart again. Today, the Beat exists concurrently in two separate incarnations; the Los Angeles-based Wakeling oversees the version stopping in S.F. this week.

 
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