The Beat at Cavern Club, Liverpool 21.7.2022 with The Skapones supporting
A few nights in Liverpool to absorb some Beatlemania and a Beat gig to take in while we were there (a trip with wife Sally and gig buddies Dave and Ann.) Originally the gig was set for the Central Hall in Liverpool but it has closed for good it seems and we had an apologetic message to say the gig had been moved to The Cavern Club, yes THE Cavern Club.
Great place The Cavern Club. I went for the first time last December when I came up to see Big Country at the Central Hall. Yes, it’s a rebuild and it’s a tourist attraction but a top place to soak up some history – live music all day, decent beer, loads of framed photos and signed memorabilia and it’s rebuilt almost on the site of the original legendary club.
This is The Beat with Dave Wakeling, the original lead singer and songwriter, that we are seeing.
After The Beat split up in 1983, another incarnation of The Beat appeared later, with Ranking Roger heading it up. That wasn’t straight away – there was General Public with Dave and Ranking Roger, and others from Dexys Midnight Runners (Mickey Billingham and Stoker), The Specials (Horace Panter) and Mick Jones from The Clash for some gigs. I saw General Public in June 1984 at a student union event at Birmingham University, billed as Aftermath and looking at the old programme/ticket it looks like Mick Jones didn’t play with them then.
I saw The Beat before that at the long gone Tower Ballroom near the reservoir up in a north corner of Edgbaston, Birmingham (The Set supporting) – must have been around 1982/3. After the split and the General Public years, Dave went to live in America where he went on to tour with his own band as The English Beat while out there. I saw them decades later in July 2017 at Mr Kyps in Poole, another lost venue. Perhaps it is that limited exposure to them that has kept them fresh for me… a bit like The Selecter.
There are two main areas in The Cavern Club where bands play. There’s a central arch in the more traditional looking area as you enter, having come down the spiral steps from Matthew Street.
The other gig space in a rear section, where The Beat are playing tonight, is called The Live Lounge and holds 350 people packed in and standing. The ceiling is low. It’s hot and sweaty as soon as we’re in. This is a sell out.
The support tonight is The Skapones, a two-tone ska sound from Darlington. They do their own stuff and covers and seem have some travelling support – full of energy and get the dance floor going.
We get a reasonable view from the left hand side, raised a few steps from the dance floor that’s in front of the stage. There is a large tv screen to the left that shows the stage and it isn’t so packed that I couldn’t get to the front or to the back of the dance floor for a better view.
I spied Eddie Lundon of China Crisis in the crowd early on and he was game for a pic.
The sound is loud but good – no ear buddies required even at the front. It was hard to get much by way of photos but that’s not what it’s about tonight. This is a bit of a party. Drinks are flowing.
As soon as The Beat get going the dance floor is bouncing. So many familiar tunes – their own and covers they have made their own over the years, like Can’t Get Used to Losing You and Tears of a Clown.
There are seven of them packed into the stage and the ‘toaster’ Antonee First Class could do with a bit more room.
Hands Off She’s Mine and Save it for Later are my early faves. Somehow the passion is still there for Stand Down Margaret – 30 years after she eventually got forced out.
I went down for dance and to have some beer spilled on me – irresistible. Right at the front but able to retreat to our side table base.
The tunes keep coming: Best Friend; Too Nice To Talk To. Dave Wakeling seem very happy – it is the last night of the UK tour so a celebratory feel from the stage as well.
Toaster Antonee gets to do a few of his solo numbers before the final run in and the floor keeps bouncing.
Saving the best until the end it has to be Mirror in the Bathroom. What a cracking single that is: their highest charting single at no.4, released in 1980.
Mirror in the bathroomDave Wakeling and The Beat 1980
Please talk free
The door is locked
Just you and me
Can I take you to a restaurant
That’s got glass tables
You can watch yourself
While you are eating
This gig was right up there on the gig list for the year so far – a lot of fun and a special venue.