The English Beat Ridgefield Playhouse, Ridgefield CT Wednesday July 29th, 2015
I swore Id never go back. I swore right here on this site that I wouldn’t ever return to the ‘quiet corner’ of Connecticut in that school auditorium known as The Ridgefield Playhouse unless I was going to see lil Suzy’s dance recital. Yet there I was smack dab in the middle of the Suburban nightmare and this time to see the iconic English Beat.
500 person capacity is a teeny place to be and the Beat, They have a pretty loyal following so I was very surprised to be told it was not sold out. I’m not sure how The Ridge is getting these bookings but they’re rackin in the 80s like its back in style. Could be the demographic, these soccer moms were once boppin’ 2tone girls, right?
In a never ending process to stop allowing shit crowds impact my evenings joy I must preface this by saying, the place was teaming with the uptight snobs that made the 80s Helen get a Mohawk and shove a safety pin through her nose- these are the respectable drones of Respectable Street here to see a band they swore they didn’t like ‘cept “Mirror in The Bathroom” once it got to Mtv.
The question for a die hard fan like me is.. is this the English Beat? Dave Wakeling the only original member and there is still the UK Beat with Ranking Roger, we’re the children of this sad divorce. Wakeling gets custody of us Americans…or do we get custody of him?
With shiny new ‘Toaster” King Schascha in the role previously held by Roger… we are off and I for one was pretty damn stoked. Unlike my previous visit to this venue I wasn’t shushed and sent to my seat and a small group was at stage front just like a Beat show should be.
Battling the sub par sound system is even tougher in a bass based sound. GIMME THE BASS for Gods sake. And I don’t blame the board for the weak pulse, I blame the inadequacy of the sound system. If you’re gonna throw these gigs lets look into an acoustic evaluation, shall we?
Now back to King Schascha, .. as toaster and ‘mc’ I found myself completely entranced by his energy and for the first time in all the times I have seen the band, my attention was everywhere but on Wakeling. He was there in his signature wear with his signature corny jokes but the King was King and absolutely out personalitied the lot of them. This being said the English Beat are not resting on laurels with a new album due out this that is fan funded and this incredible new front man energy I only see a much brighter and more successful future.
The set-list was weak. But if you haven’t seen them that often it was just what you needed.. Rough Rider to I Confess to Click Click you got the hits for your $40.00 ticket. What you didn’t get was clarity of vocals or a energetic audience (aside from those house wivers up front) but you got the hits and you got a fabulous band doing their hits just for you in an intimate setting.
The English Beat do no wrong in my eyes. I have loved them for decades and continue to support and turn to them to brighten any shit mood I aquire. They never disapoint they never let me down and I will continue to see them everytime they come around even if I have to return to this venue again (*dear band.. please pick a different venue next time- love hel)
(the minus for the lackluster set list and the once again lame ass crowd.)