The Beat, Gig Review. The Olympia, Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

The beat remains important, without it, without that palpitation in the chest, the rhythm in the soul and the expectation of the overwhelming passion for life, then what is the point of existence, it would just come down to a series of 0 and 1s, to the coldness of science and the drudgery of only letting off steam in a calculated, disciplined way. The beat, that recurring, rhythmic resonating in each of us if we listen closely, that is the sound of being alive and passionate. It is sound that The Beat remember and offer with charm and dexterity of purpose and it is still the one that snaps the fingers and makes the heart jump for joy.

The Beat’s Co-Headline tour with their Midland 2 Tone stable mates The Selecter may have started in March in the fabulous and eyebrow raising Glasgow, but all things when they end, for a time, for a while, should always come to Liverpool to raise the roof, to offer a season’s glad tiding and a kick out at the thoughts of the damned and the insensitive, arguably, there is no better place for such a reception of good will and huge applause, outside of the band’s home town of Birmingham, than Liverpool.

With the sad news that the band was a man down, a short illness can bring down the most brilliant of men at any time, it was up to the band to see the night, and the tour, out in style, in a sense of chivalry and sublime, barbed observations; it was one that was expertly grasped and beat driven delivered.

There will always be a part of Birmingham that lives and breathes inside the heart of The Beat, born of a time when the city, like Liverpool, was under scrutiny from the so called powers that be, of the Westminster village that seemed to want to punish these two cities for daring to be greater than the London many of the M.P.s never want to leave. It is the Birmingham of expression, of joy, of multi-culturism that is embraced, the flavour of 2-tone, of Ska at its best.

For the Liverpool crowd the night was one of celebration, a memory of what kicked down doors when the band first appeared on the scene, of the gruel and monotony being displaced and instead the ode to the trilby and the sharp dressed cool becoming a thread like passion.

In songs such as Hands-Off…She’s Mine, Too Nice Too Talk To, the upbeat and playful Smoky Robinson cover of Tears of a Clown, Whine and Grine/ Stand Down Margaret, the craft of Avoid the Obvious and a beautiful dedication to the much missed Joe Strummer to whom the last 15 years without has been one of sadness for all his fans.

Rock the Olympia, for in the still of the December night must come rhythm and the Liverpool venue provided with honour, for The Beat is still in all of us, we just have to listen to the sound and tell the non-believers where they are going wrong.

Ian D. Hall