Anyone familiar with the history of Ska will know "The English Beat (a.k.a The Beat) but for those of you who aren't Ska historians: The Beat was formed in Birmingham, England in 1978, they changed their name to The English Beat in the United States in order to avoid being confused with Paul Collins' band of the same name. These days, there are two versions of the English Beat: one in this country, led by Dave Wakeling, and another in the U.K., featuring Ranking Roger, the band's classic toaster. Their sound is eclectic and best described by front man Dave Wakeling, "We tried to blend punk and reggae, and both of those are, to a certain point, the music of resistance and protest. After punk, we wanted to come up with something that you could still be in a protesting sort of mood but you didn't have to be angry all the time. It was hard work being punk, wasn't it? Being furious about so many things? It sort of occurred to us that to have to get that angry about stuff was kind of like using the tactics of the opposition -- the forces of hatred themselves. We genuinely did think it could be the end of the world, and we wanted a last chance to dance. We wanted ska-pocalypse. We did. And we thought that, well, if you have a good dance, you never know what will happen, things might get better. And if the world is going to hell in a handbag, then we may as well dance in the streets. We thought we were on our way. It would appear I spent the last thirty years expecting the sky to fall on my head. We wanted the Velvet Underground with Toots and the Maytals jamming along. We wanted that urban angst, but we wanted it to be with a pretty backbeat."
The Two-Tone legends will be performing in Pontiac on Thursday March 31st at The Crofoot Ballroom.