For the English Beat at Johnny D’s in Somerville, it was all work, but nothing will stop these musicians from making their appointed rounds. From the back of the bar, where we sat finishing supper, Matt Morrish’s (Sax/Vocals) sax sounded like dinner jazz as the set began. The band offered up songs mostly from the albums Special Beat Service and I Just Can’t Stop It, with tunes by General Public thrown in for good measure, like “Stand Down Margret.” Surprisingly, the house was packed, despite the snow on a Sunday night.
Although the energy wasn’t as rockus as at past gigs, the Red Bull kicked in and the band found their mojo. Banter between Dave Wakeling (Lead vocals/Guitar) and Antonee First Class (Vocals) was fun as usual, but the smiles felt forced. Perhaps, the road and the snow took it’s toll. I suppose it’s a testament to their professionalism and on-with-the-show giddy-up-go, but all in all this felt like an oldies show at the county fair. Using phrases like “this old chestnut” and asking “does anybody remember the ’80s?” only served to emphasize the oldies aspect. They sound like a good bar band, as my friend said, and I’d add a good bar band that found their mojo in a can of Red Bull. Nonetheless, just like the postman, they delivered the necessary goods in a timely manner and put on a decent show.