Aftermath: The Timeless Two-Tone Of The English Beat And Fishbone

Categories: Live Shots
Photos by Marco Torres / Click here for a slideshow
Aftermath's companion expressed doubt about Sunday night's English Beat concert at Warehouse Live. He's a pretty big fan of The Beat, you see, and having listened to their music for more than 20 years but having never seen them live, he was worried the result might be something akin to our recent experience with The Wailers -- an fandom-tainting letdown of epic proportions.

Just before the show, we also had this exchange.

"I've never been a big fan of Fishbone."

"Well, you've got to at least respect [singer] Angelo Moore."

"Oh, do I?"

Later, at the venue, two songs into Fishbone's set, our companion turned to us, shouting over the crowd with a mile-wide grin on his face.

"MAN! THIS IS AWESOME! I forgot how fun ska is!"

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Indeed, Fishbone, a band that has seemingly never stopped touring, got a warm welcome from a decidedly two-tone crowd in the Warehouse's smaller studio room (a wedding reception was going on in the ballroom). Aftermath was happy to see that the funk/punk/ska band's six members all sang and played instruments, and Moore got catcalls when he picked up his sax between verses. Aftermath, however, was especially enamored with the fact that Moore was playing a fucking Theremin, and was insanely good at it too, waving the bass line from Black Sabbath's "Iron Man," to mimicing a record being scratched.

Fishbone's sound has always been straight-up dirty, like the alley cats their name implies, but the crowd seemed to be an odd mix of 50-somethings and kids. We mean little kids. Eight-year-olds, dude. Aftermath did, however, finally get to meet Raymond Gayle who was selling copies of his documentary in which Angelo Moore is featured. At the end of Fishbone's psychedelic ska set, 200 people were skankin' in unison to "Party at Ground Zero," the song that terrified another Rocks Off member as a child.

Between sets, the sound engineer at Warehouse Live had the genius to play Spencer Davis Group's "Gimme Some Lovin'" at maximum volume, which put Aftermath into the perfect Mod mood.

At first glance, when The Beat's frontman and sole original member Dave Wakeling stepped onto the stage, Aftermath's heart sunk a bit. Wakeling is petite, and these days, at age 53, he's sporting quite the spare tire. To be frank, he looked pretty washed up. But the minute the band launched into "Twist & Crawl" all was right with the world, since Wakeling's hot toddy voice hasn't changed a note from the band's first album, released in 1980.

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