Saturday, January 26, 2013

The English Beat Land in Huntington



1/25/13 07:06 Heading to Stony Brook
It’s hot on the train and my head feels heavy from the extra beers I had last night.  The English Beat played at the Paramount in Huntington.  It gave a chance for elder hipsters, punks and skasters to get out on a week night.  I was excited when I learned the Scofflaws were opening.  Back in the eighties I saw them a couple of times.  Back then they were known as the New Bohemians.  Eddie Brickell’s management paid $600 to buy the name and in ’88 they transformed into the legends they are.  Eric picked me up at the Huntington train station.  Before he came I saw a young man carrying an instrument case, wearing a black suit and tie.  I asked if he was playing that night, and he said he was.  Jared is the trombone player for The Scofflaws and has played with them for the last couple of years.  I was curious if they toured.  These days he said they still get out, but don’t go too far from the New York base.  It’s not worth it.  I ate a light dinner at a Greek restaurant.  The air was freezing. It was so cold it took my breath away even though it was a short walk.   Inside The Paramount it was empty, maybe twenty of us were scattered on seats and around the open floor.   I was worried this would be a dead turnout, but gradually more people came in and when The Scofflaws hit the stage there were about a hundred or so.  There was another opening band from Long Island, RPS who was… alright.  They are known for playing reggae as per their web site.  You need to have style to play ska.  The RPS boys were dressed down and looked out of place. Honestly, The Scofflaws could have handled being the one and only band opening for The English Beat.  “Sammy” Brooks the singer and sax man had excellent stage presence.  He grew up in Huntington and shared a story when he was a kid, a group of his friends tried to sneak in the theatre (when they played movies back in 68) to see The Beatle’s Yellow Submarine and were caught by the manager who eventually let them in  to watch the film.  I’m dying on the train, I have the sweats and I feel my stomach bubbling.  I didn’t drink too many beers, but enough to send me over in hangover lethargy and regret.  The English Beat hit the stage.   I thought the black man was Ranking Roger, but it was not.  His name as we learned and he repeated was Anthony, who kept the crowd dancing and calling back and forth (I looked it up, his name is Antonee First Class) When he called out, who likes the eighties? I got pissed.  The show at that moment became an oldies show.  Yes, let’s waltz back in time…to the good old days when the threat of Margaret Thatcher or a nuclear war was eminent.  It was an oldies show since the last time The English Beat released a new album was back in…1982?  Special Beat Service which I received as a Christmas present when I was 16? Face the fact, it was an oldies show and I am paying the price for a late night at this moment.  I will have waves of energy and others like now when I am slinking in my seat.  The seats are filling up on the train.  I feel like I will heave if I had the opportunity.   Trying to tell my body I have an hour or more to get into the office. 

Saturday 15:08 Home
I need to wrap up this entry with the performance of the English Beat.  There was only one original member and  Dave Wakeling’s voice was perfect, he smiled and shared some antidotes with the crowd, but with his accent it was hard to decipher what he was saying, except I thought he said they shouldn’t have to pick on Thatcher anymore.  His smile barely left his face, bowed a few times after some songs and thanked us for coming out.  He even said, “God Bless you.”  That was nice in a different way since I rarely hear it at a concert, more often it’s after a speech from a sensible politician.  Songs?  Mirror in the bathroom, Jeanette, Sole Salvation, Tears of a Clown, I Confess, Safe it For Later - which the extended though it didn’t need to be extended.  They played some songs from General Public, Tenderness.  After the concert my intoxicated mind made the decision to get Wakeling’s autograph on my ticket.  I asked if he can sign it and he apologized since he didn’t have a pen, but like a good man, he found the pen and came back to the edge of the stage.  The security guard blocked me and Dave smiled and made a joke, come on…Dave signed my ticket and I stumbled off in the frigid winter winds in my light leather coat.  Thank you to my brother-in-law and my sister for allowing the man a night out.  We had a good time and plan on starting a band.  Look for the Dead Beat Dad’s on tour this summer or was it a drunkards dream.

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