The Beat & Bionic Rats in Dublin (Review)

Monday, February 9th, 2015

the-beat-2015Legendary ska/reggae band The Beat from Birmingham in the U.K. have just started their 2015 world tour. It runs to November next, and sees the band visiting France, the Netherlands, Australia and Britain – with many more locations to be announced.

The Beat enjoy a unique and proud position in reggae\ska’s rollercoaster ride. The band played a crucial role during the 1980s in adapting the genre to a British audience, successfully merging it with the emotions of disaffected punk rockers and (frequently fascist-oriented!) ska supporting skin heads.

This year The Beat broke with a 6 year tradition of playing Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, by landing in Dublin on the anniversary of Bob Marley’s birthday. Kicking off their world tour, the band served up a delectable dish of old and new material. Fronted by the irrepressible Ranking Roger – who’s still hitting the high notes after 37 years on the road – the 7-member band’s sound is elegantly embellished by a toasting Murphy ‘Ranking Junior’ (otherwise known as the Prodigal Son!). And to top it off, Roger’s daughter joined the family on stage for an experimental encore, that saw reggae merged with rap, funk and rock ‘n roll genres. The Beat’s lead front man – Ranking Roger – has not aged, and this ‘fit as a fiddle’ tambourine wielding wicked and wild faced vocalist easily matched his young son for pace, passion and performance.

It must be said that The Beat give good value for money. Their performance stretched to almost 2 hours, with highlights coming in the form of ‘Tears of a Clown’, ‘Stand Down Margaret’, ‘Too Nice To Talk To’, ‘Two Swords’, ‘Rough Rider’, ‘Jackpot’, and an extended version of ‘Mirror in the Bathroom’. The rootsy classic ‘Dangerous’ brought the house down, and was (arguably) the night’s highlight.

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