English Beat / Bad Manners @ Irving Plaza, NYC

Live Reviews | By on Feb 8th, 2009

Opening Bands: Big D and the Kids Table
Band Links:

Who said ska was dead? Apparently whoever said that wasnt at the packed show at Irving Plaza last night. English Beat and Bad Manners were in town, and were finishing up a winter tour together. Dave Wakeling and The Beat were celebrating their 30th anniversary, and Bad Manners were returning to the East Coast to play their classic hits. Its been awhile since I was at a full fledge ska show but I had a blast!

Big D and the Kids Table were the opening band. I would have preferred a more 2nd or 3rd wave ska band instead of a ska punk band to open the show but they were okay. Im not a fan of them and have been harsh with Big D in the past. They actually werent that bad this time around. Maybe they were playing their more ska-ish songs instead of their faster punk songs? I dont know, I just remembered them playing a lot faster & inaudible in the past; unless they changed their sound? I have no idea. The crowd really seemed to enjoy their set and quite a few circle pits erupted into the back of the club. I liked their cover of the Specials Little Bitch.

Up next were Buster Bloodvessel and Bad Manners. Ive been trying to see the band for over 12 years now and I finally got the chance to. The first time I almost saw them was at the New England Ska Fest in 98 and they backed out at the last minute. Last year they played Irving Plaza but it was the same day as the Pogues concert so I couldnt go. So Friday Night was the night to finally see Bad Manners and they were excellent! The band brought so much energy and happiness to the club. They got the packed crowd to move their fatty fatty bodies and sing along. The band started off with an instrumental number and Buster presented himself to the crowd after that. He was wearing an ugly leopard suit and checkered sunglasses. The band played a lot of classics that night, and I was certainly happy with the song selection. It would have been cool to hear Heavy Petting or Down Berry Wood though. Buster and company did such songs like My Girl Lollipop, Fatty Fatty, Skaville UK, Feel Like Jumping, Skinhead Love Affair, and Inner London Violence. I think my favorites of the evening were Fatty Fatty, and Skinhead Love Affair. During a few songs, a young skinhead girl came out to play the violin. There was no mic on the violin so Buster would come over and put his mic on it. I could hear it since I was up close but not sure how it sounded elsewhere. They also did quite a few covers like Cant Take My Eyes Off You, and Woolly Bully. For seeing Bad Manners for the first time, I was really impressed with how tight the band sounded. The band was just amazing that night. Other songs I remember them playing included Lip Up Fatty, Special Brew, Can Can and Lorraine. They played for an hour and it everyone was pumped up to see the English Beat.

The Beat are celebrating their 30th anniversary and have announced that they will be recording a new album. Im really looking forward to that! The English Beat played most of the songs off of I Just Cant Stop It and some from Special Beat Service. Not too much from Wha’ppen. They opened up with a long version of Whine & Grine, which was great for me because I was taking pictures of the band. The lighting was really tough to work with but I was just happy to be there. Bad Manners made everyone skank in their spots and English Beat made everyone sway and groove to their reggae sound. Here and there, the band would break out faster songs like Smokey Robinsons Tears of a Clown, and Two Swords. Some of the songs that I remember the band playing included Can’t Get Used to Losing You, I Confess, Doors of your Heart, Hands Off Shes Mine, Rough Rider, and Twist & Crawl. The last time I saw Dave Wakeling and the English Beat, it was at the Chance and they were just as good as this time. During both performances, Dave did a few General Public songs. I certainly have no problem with that since I like that band as well. The three songs he did were Ill Take You There (The Staple Singers cover), Never You Done That, and my favorite General Public song Tenderness. Most of you know the song Tenderness from Weird Science and Clueless.

Towards the middle of the set, my group ventured into the back of the club to get our coats and watch the rest of the show from back. I didnt realize how packed the club was until I had to walk through everyone. I think by the end of the night, the show was sold out. Its certainly a good sign for ska music; that it could still pack a club. I noticed some familiar faces from the NY ska scene including some guys from Westbound Train and Inspecter 7. Im sure everyone was there that night. Its not every day you can see both English Beat and Bad Manners on the same bill! At the end of the set, The Beat played Rankin Full Stop and came back to play well known songs like Save It For Later and Mirror in the Bathroom. English Beat play some of their songs slower live but I dont mind that. Dave Wakeling and the band are top notch musicians and really know how to put on a fun show.
All in all, I thought the show was a lot fun and definitely worth going to. Bad Manners brought down the house with their bouncy ska music and The English Beat made the crowd sway and skank to their 2-tone reggae music. If you ever get a chance to see either band, be sure to do so! Now bring on the Specials reunion!

Here are the best photos from the night:

Big D and Kids Table:

Bad Manners:

English Beat:

To see all the photos from the show, click the links below:
www.skapunkphotos.com/gallery/concert/English-Beat-The-Fillmore-at-Irving-Plaza-NYC English Beat
www.skapunkphotos.com/gallery/concert/bad-manners-the-fillmore-at-irving-plaza-nyc Bad Manners
www.skapunkphotos.com/gallery/concert/big-d-and-the-kids-table-the-fillmore-at-irving-plaza-nyc Big D and the Kids Table

Bottom Line: A really fun ska show!
Overall Rating:


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