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You Can’t Keep a Good Ska Band Down

August 23rd, 2010

The English Beat/Bad Manners – Webster Hall – August 21, 2010

The English Beat - Webster Hall - August 21, 2010

The English Beat

The floor at Webster Hall probably never shook as much as it did last night when 2 Tone ska revivalists the English Beat and Bad Manners were onstage. During both sets, the crowd filled every foot of the main floor, skankin’ and boppin’ to each note from these legendary music makers. Bad Manners—perhaps best known for bald-headed frontman Buster Bloodvessel’s outlandish personality, oversize tongue and animated onstage antics—played a rowdy set of career favorites, with an amped-up horn section, including the up-tempo “Lip Up Fatty” (the band’s most well-known song about being fat had Bloodvessel swinging his gut every which way) and the slightly slower-grooved and perfect for this time of year “Walking in the Sunshine.”

Upon taking the stage, the English Beat immediately jumped straight into their rendition of “I’ll Take You There” before an onslaught of original chart-topping material, including “I Confess,” “Save It For Later,” which segued into a few bars of Pearl Jam’s “Better Man,” and “Can’t Get Used to Losing You.” They also covered General Public’s “Tenderness,” did a newer original, “Loving You Lasts Forever,” and closed with “Mirror in the Bathroom.” Although singer Dave Wakeling was a man of limited words, except joking about calling one’s mum to let her know you’re safe (and not drinking too much), first-class toaster Antonee kept the interludes moving and the ladies in mind with chants like: “I want a 2 Tone lady, a 2 Tone girl,” which eventually morphed into something raunchier, “I want a 2 Tone BFF, so we can go home and just F, F, F.” —Kirsten Housel

Photos courtesy of Kirsten Housel