Legacy 7″ Box – 6

The Beat – Hands Off She’s Mine/Twist and Crawl
Go-Feet Records FEET 1
1980 UK

The first time I heard The Beat was at a fun fair in Didcot, on the site of where the football club used to be. I was standing by the Dodgems thinking what great fun it looked, but unable to have a go as I didn’t have money, as was so often the case. I would have been 13 years old. Blasting out of the dodgems sound system came this and it sounded amazing.

The whole ska revival was really vibrant following hot on the heels of punk as it did and reaching back into a musical past that your typical white boy living in middle England would have no idea about. 40 years later I’m listening to and buying some of those songs that were covered and given new life and a new audience.

The rest in the box are here

The Beat/P.I.L – O2 Academy, Oxford

I am not really in great physical shape at the moment so attending a gig was very much not something that I would have chosen to do last night, but I bought a ticket months ago and I did not want to not go and then regret it later, so I went. Public Image Ltd were headlining with support from The Beat.

The O2 is about 25 minutes from where I work and there is a nearby car park so it wasn’t IMG_2052difficult to get to, I just needed to work late so that when I set off for the gig I wasn’t stuck in rush hour traffic. I arrived just before 7PM, which is when the doors opened, but decided to avoid the building queue and sit in Subway across the road with a Ham & Turkey sub on wheat bread, it’s the lowest fat one they do. I took a photo of it, don’t judge me.

I wandered over at about 7:30 and found the place to be pretty empty so I walked to the front and hung about 5 people back from the stage, which would turn out to be fortuitous as the heat in the place when it filled up was massive and I’d accidentally chosen to stand right under the air conditioning, which they put on at 8:45, by then it was a little late but it was better than not being on at all.

The beat were really very good, full of energy, getting the audience to join in and happily playing the songs the audience wanted to hear. I did take a couple of minutes to get my phone out and record a song, which shows my proximity to the stage as well.

Frontman Rankin Roger introduced his co-vocalist as Rankin Roger Jnr, which is nice. They did about an hour and it was really enjoyable, despite the heat.

IMG_2059

At 8:50 P.I.L took to the stage and, being entirely truthful, it was a little bit of a disappointment. Perhaps this is my own fault as I love P.I.L and maybe I was expecting more than I should have, but the sound was a bit muddy, the levels on the vocal often made it unintelligible (which sometimes it’s supposed to be, but when it’s not, it shouldn’t be). I stood in the same spot for 4 songs but then had to move further back as space was getting tighter and, as previously mentioned, I’m not in the best of shape to deal with that at the moment.

I did do a quick snippet of ‘This is not a love song’, which is below, and listening to it back this morning, it sounds better on the video than it did being there. John Lydon, as he does nowadays, read the majority of his lyrics and still forgot some of them, or more likely lost his place. It was song after song with almost nothing in-between and I felt at times like I was present at a practice session and felt that they weren’t really up for it and were going through the motions somewhat. I could be entirely wrong about this and it may have been me projecting how I was feeling on to the band. Oh, the video is the wrong way up, bloody phone (because it can’t possibly be my fault! It’s been corrected in youtube, so that’s better)

I was still enjoying the gig but I had to leave early as it was all getting a bit too much for me to deal with and I had over an hour still to drive home.IMG_2062

I did try and take a few pictures of P.I.L but they were bloody awful so I quickly gave up.

I was glad I had the opportunity to see P.I.L. live and do wish I had been in finer fettle and could have stayed until the end.

What’s in the Bag? (94)

CS1995870-02A-BIGAnother £4 used find, and one I have very fond memories of, or at least of a couple of the tracks as I never actually owned the album when it came out. This one goes all the way back to 1980 when I was 13 years old and I was at the fair in Didcot, located on Didcot Town FC’s pitch. The album is ‘I Just Can’t Stop It’ by ‘The Beat’. One of the rides was playing ‘Mirror in the Bathroom’, the opening track from the album and I really, really liked it, though I shouldn’t have, well, based on others perceptions of where I was supposed to fit into musical genre choices and what I conveyed to them by my own word and actions. It really doesn’t matter, except when you are 13, then it really is extremely important. This is the period when we really shape our identities, when a swirling mass of liquid ideas begin to solidify and we start having valid opinions based less on outside influences and more on what we truly like. It was around then that I began to find merit in all manner of different genres as I was already listening to punk and post-punk alongside what we now consider Classic Rock, I was even listening to prog, and still thoroughly enjoying it.

The Beat, or The English Beat or The British Beat as I believe they are known in the colonies, were formed in 1978 in Birmingham and were just in time to catch the wave of Ska revival that included bands such as The Specials, The Selecter, Madness, and The Bodysnatchers in what I recall was labelled 2-Tone, although this was a record label and The Beat were signed to Go Feet. We had quite a few lads at my school who picked up on this, some superficially so and some went a bit deeper, exploring where the music first originated, and then there were some who tried to be Skinheads and didn’t really know what they were doing, the main attractions seemingly being the Doc Martins, turned up jeans and Fred Perry polo shirts.

I’ve said it before and I am about to say it again, there was a time when there was less filler on albums and this is no exception, containing, as it does, 4 hit singles (one of which was a double A side so, technically, 5). If you are interested in such things, the album is 64 on Rolling Stones Top 100 Debut Albums,  which probably means something to somebody somewhere.

Here is the video for ‘Mirror In The Bathroom, not the official one, but from Top of the Pops, just because (But worth it forboth Tommy Vance and the stunning visual effects):

And there is the full album courtesy of Spotify