The Beat Featuring Ranking Roger performing at Rock City Nottingham on Saturday 15th October 2016

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Nottingham may have overdosed on ska recently, with both founder members of The Beat gracing our fair city. Just ten days ago, Dave Wakeling’s English Beat put in a fine performance at The Rescue Rooms, and last night it was the turn of Ranking Roger to bring his version of the band to Rock City.

Joining him on stage was his son Ranking Junior who, with drummers Oscar Harrison from Ocean Colour Scene, Fuzz Townsend and the absolutely brilliant Chiko Hamilton on saxophone, they soon had this crowd singing, tapping their feet and shuffling around as though they were back in the 80s.

Touring in part to promote their first album in thirty years, Bounce and also because they just love performing live, they opened with a song which had massive repercussions for the band back in the day, a mash up of Whine And Grind and Stand Down Margaret.

But someone really does need to tell them to slow down as they ran around the stage as though they were in training for a marathon, delivering hit after old hit. Admitting that “they haven’t had a set list in over five years, they look at the crowd and know what tune to play next”, they must have known that they would not have been able to leave the stage without playing Hands Off She’s Mine, Too Nice To Talk To and a highly energized cover of The Clash’s Rock The Casbah.

There were three new tracks which slotted right in with the old numbers. Avoid The Obvious was the stand out track whilst the super fast rapping by Junior on Side To Side left your head spinning. Finishing with a massive ska fix with Ranking Full Stop and crowd favourite, Mirror In The Bathroom, it had been a night of high tempo, energetic music that had left this crowd exhausted.