Opening Bands: Reegal Beegal, Bigger Thomas, Hub City Stompers
Date: June 29th 2006
Venue: The Chance, Poughkeepsie NY
The English Beat surprisingly made a stop to Poughkeepsie, and I was kind of expecting the turn out to be what it was. But I was just happy to finally get to see Dave Wakeling & co. in action. Dave is the only original member of the band left but the rest of the group still did a great job! The one surprise I got that evening was Lynval Golding of the Specials was playing guitar. So I knew some Specials songs were going to be represented.
My brother, friend Chris and I arrived at the Chance at 8:30 (doors were at 7:30), Reegal Beegal opened the show and we only saw the last song. Vinny Noble of Pilfers, Bim Skala Bim, Cenzo, etc. etc. etc. was there playing trombone, so that was kind of cool. They were a lot of people on stage and I didn’t really get to see them so I can’t really talk about that set that much. I counted about 40 people, including members of various bands, in the club at the time. Yeah, that’s not good and I feel bad for the club and bands when they get turn-outs like that. College isn’t in session anymore so that demographic was scarce, and it was a Thursday night as well. But you kind of have to make the best of it with those situations. Thankfully it did fill up the bottom of the Chance a little bit when the Beat finally hit the stage. I guess the older people like to just show up for the main act.
After the opening band, Hub City Stompers were up to entertain the small crowd. I enjoyed their set and never heard their music before. I knew it consisted of one of the singers from Inspecter 7 and I always liked those guys. The band has a similar sound, but not as skinhead-ish. Since I haven’t heard their albums I don’t know what songs they played. I thought the best song that was played was Inspecter 7′ “Sharky 17.” They played that song last and it brought me back to when they played a lot of ska shows in the area. Next up was Bigger Thomas. They were another band I knew since I got into ska back in ’96 but never heard anything besides “Ska In my Pocket.” The singer of the band was very lively and energetic, and he kept running all over the place in the venue. He was climbing up on the railings, almost falling down, and then start to dance on them. It was quite a show and by doing that it made me get into the band more. I thought they had a tight sound and played their stuff well. They played a cover of the Specials’ “Monkey Man” and felt a little bit intimidated that Lynval was there but they did the song justice. They had a DJ toaster singer guy come out for songs (who I think recorded with Django the singer said) and he did an all right job.
I decided to go down in the pit and dance for the English Beat, who were up next. The band finally got on around 10:45 and I was getting anxious because I wanted to see the whole set. I wake up at 6:30 every morning to go to work so I wanted the band to get on already. Dave came out and the rest of the band followed. Lynval got out the harmonica and started to play a familiar intro that every ska fan should know (THEY BETTER KNOW!). It was “A Message to you, Rudy” and I actually started to skank. I don’t remember the last time I skanked at a ska show. I know I was up front at the Pilfers reunion show but I don’t think I actually skanked (there was no room at the front). It was great to hear that song being played live again. I saw the reunited Specials a few times back in 98 or whenever the hell that was. They played an empty Port Chester show and then the Warped Tour. But back to the Beat concert, after Message..was Tears of a Clown (originally by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles). Dave mentioned he didn’t really have a set list but it was more of a menu. So I screamed out to play “Two Swords” and that was the song that was played next. That song was great to dance to, and it was around this time I wasn’t feeling rusty dancin’ anymore. It took a nice fast ska song to get my groove back! Yes, a 28 year old skankin’ at a ska show, but I thankfully wasn’t the oldest there. That ska dude who goes to every ska show in the northeast was there, so I saw him dancing quite a bit. After that song, The band played “Best Friend,” “Rough Rider,” “Mirror in the Bathroom,” “Doors of my Heart,” and “Ackee 123.” I loved hearing all those songs, and I’ve just gotten into the English Beat so much lately that I was super happy to hear these songs live for the first time. And Dave would have some funny and interesting intros to the songs as well. It was definitely a good time let me tell you. With all the crap that’s going on with my life lately, it was nice to just enjoy myself and dance & have a good time.
During the time I was in the pit, I had the unfortunate pleasure of sitting by the “annoying drunk couple.” Oh you know the type i’m talking about. The couple that starts to make out in front of you, then they are fighting and ready to beat the shit out of each other, and then the girl runs away. Then she comes back, they fight some more, then they make up and then start to dance in your space & making out. It’s just so fucking annoying when you’re trying to watch a band play and you have to hear some couple yelling at each other. Do that shit outside so it can give the smokers something to watch instead. I left the dance floor because my old man legs were getting sore and I wanted to get away from the psycho couple from hell. I sat all the way in the back and annoyed my brother with my dancing since he was cranky. Other songs the band played were “Twist & Crawl,” “Can’t Stand Losing You,” “Hands Off She’s Mine,” “Click Click,” and “Ranking Full Stop.” I thought Dave played “Click Click” really well and I wish I was still down in the pit for that one. The Beat then played 2 songs from General Public, “I’ll Take you There” and “Tenderness.” I’ve always loved listening to “Tenderness” and it’s one of my favorite 80’s tunes. The last song of the set was of course, “Save It For Later,” and that’s the song I was waiting to hear all night. I’m sure everyone else was too! That was also the last song I stuck around for because it was getting late and still had to drive an hour home (plus work in a few hours). I wish I stayed for the encore but I think I would have fallen asleep driving home. Overall, it sucked there wasn’t a bigger crowd there but it was still a very enjoyable show. I was glad the Beat came to crappy old Poughkeepsie and it was awesome to finally hear all the English Beat songs live. Now only if the original members of the Specials would get together for a reunion…