I grew up listening to the likes of The Beat, Madness and The Specials so when I heard The Beat were coming to Dublin I jumped at the chance to go. The trouble with bands reforming is that they often don’t live up to the hype. What worked in the past may not necessarily work now and there’s always a chance you will leave the gig disappointed, The Sex Pistols at Electric picnic spring to mind. Thankfully on this occasion my fears were unfounded.
For a band that was created over 30 years ago, I wasn’t expecting such an energetic or enthuastic performance. Granted the line up may have changed a bit but they still sounded fresh and authentic to the original sound. Lead singer Ranking danced nonstop from start to finish and even the tracks he labelled as slow were pretty fast paced. He was joined on stage by his son Ranking junior, and the father son combination made for a great show. The set was a bit of a mixed bag ranging from their very first single Tears of a clown, right up to a cover of The Clash’s song Rock the Casbah.Throughout the set calls of rude boy and rude girl could be heard from the audience as well as on stage from Ranking himself, particularly at the beginning of songs. Rough Rider, Hands off she’s mine, Big shot and Too nice to talk to all got a great reaction from the crowd.
However the biggest reaction of the night was unsurprisingly reserved for Mirror in the Bathroom. As energetic as the band were, they were nothing compared to the crowd. Young and old alike danced constantly in traditional ska and rocksteady style and it was sometimes hard to concentrate on the band with some of the very entertaining moves that were happening around me. They finished up with Ranking full stop with father and son running from one end of the stage to the other throughout the entire performance.
They came back for a short encore with Ranking junior taking the lead and treating the audience to a solo performance. The speed at which he can rap is incredible and I for one think his talent should have been showcased a lot more throughout the set, not just at the end. They closed the night with an extended version of Jackpot, but stayed around afterwards for quite a while to shake the hands of fans and sign autographs. Ranking senior even took off his top and threw it into the crowd with Ranking junior following suit not long after. Truly a great show, it was impossible to leave without a smile on your face. Proving that talent lasts, no matter how many years have passed.