The Beat - The Mill Preston - 1.10.05

There's a fair few grizzled old ska fans here at the Mill tonight desperately clinging to their youth in the kind of clothes which probably were fashionable in the 80s. Tonight there's a much smaller crowd than I anticipated considering the popularity of the band, but perhaps these forty something's had trouble securing a baby-sitter. The students of Preston make up the rest of the audience, a good decision as the Beat clearly know how to show up the bands who have attempted to kick-start the ska revival for a whole new generation.

Beginning with a cover of Smoky Robinson's "Tears Of A Clown", the seven piece are natural performers, experienced in the art of entertaining. The legendary Rankin Roger stands proudly by his son, a confident, good looking young man who has obviously inherited his fathers skill vocally and as a scintillating showman. This dynamic duo glide across the stage providing some great moves, obviously relishing the chance to thoroughly enjoy themselves.

"Ranking From The Start" sees the fans dancing with glee while "Big Shot" has a more stoned slow dub flavour. Songs like "Two Sword For Old People" tackle racism head on, while the more light hearted "Hands Off She's Mine" is fun with the two frontmen working superbly together, a winning father and son combination. "Rock The Kasbah" is dedicated to Joe Strummer, while "Noise In This World" is described as a ballad. It's a sly joke as this song is anything but, it's an ass kickin rock workout.

The ace in the Beats pack is their classic "Mirror In The Bathroom", which showcases the fast rapping talents of Rankin Junior while the fans join in on the chorus. The Beat return for a storming encore with "Save It For Later" and "Jackpot". An energetic and spirited show from a band who have influenced the new ska movement today from bands such as Dead 60s, Hard Fi and the Ordinary Boys. So support the Beat and remember how important and vital they remain as true originals and innovators of new talent.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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