The English Beat offered a pleasing, sunny antidote to the bleak realism of British punk during the economically challenged days of late 1977 and 1978. Blending pop, ska, reggae and the more melodic leanings of the burgeoning new wave, the Dave Wakeling- and Ranking Roger-led band brought an ebullient spirit to their stage and studio performances, whether it was tackling the politics of the day (“Stand Down Margaret”) or simply kicking out indelible hooks (“Mirror In the Bathroom,” “All Out To Get You.”)
Though the original English Beat only had a five-year run, when the group splintered in 1983, Wakeling and Roger went on to form General Public, and carried on their former band’s ethic of intelligent party music. A one-off reformation gig in 2003 led to Wakeling’s relaunching of the English Beat name for yearly tours and occasional recordings. That run has continued to this day – often with the help of keyboardist and Buffalo native Dave Schulz.
The Wakeling-led version of the English Beat will bring some sunny ska to the Buffalo Iron Works at 7 p.m. Friday. This is the band’s second appearance at the Illinois Street venue. The last one was a sell-out, so you might want to grab your tickets soon. Tickets are $20 advance and $25 day of show (Ticketfly.com).