Monday, April 03, 2006

The Beat Goes On

The Time: 8:00pm Saturday 1st April
The Place: Belly Up Tavern, Solana Beach

A few miles up the coast from San Diego, just off the Pacific Coast Highway 101, lies a strange place called Solana Beach. A typical southern Californian coastal town, with beach front residential properties and state parks. In the heart of the town rests the Cedros Design District, an area full of a variety of shops and galleries catering for art lovers, designer shoppers and antique lovers. A strange place, by day the haunt of tourists and collectors, by night the Belly Up Tavern takes over.

In the centre of the design district, located in what looks like a wooden warehouse with just a ticket window and a small door on the front, is the Belly Up Tavern, a music venue since 1974. Seemed a strange location to me, but the art galleries and the music venue seem to co-exist well. I suppose the fact that the tavern is open in the evenings for live music and the galleries during the day, they can kind of ignore each other. The car parks that are full of antique collectors and tourists during the day are full concert goers in the of burgers and seafood. The central area is taking up with the dance floor and around the sides there are stepped platforms with barstool type seating. There is even a 2nd floor balcony area overlooking the stage.

We were there to see The Beat, or in America, The English Beat as they are known. Just can't bring myself to call them the English Beat, then again I suppose we do the same thing in the UK by calling their football, American Football. Maybe it's just the USA's way of getting back at us for that.

Before The Beat took the stage, another band called Naked Eyes were playing. Another UK Band that were formed in 1981. They were supposedly, according to a internet 80's music website, a 'key presence in the synth pop music of the early 80's'. That may be true, but having lived through that era of music in the UK, I didn't recognize anything. Then again, the quality of the sound wasn't brilliant, but neither was the music I'm sorry to say. Didn't do much for me or the people we were with. Sorry guys, not much there I'm afraid.

Finally, after three hours of waiting, Dave Wakeling and The Beat took the stage, without fanfare or introduction, they just walked on. I was apprehensive giving the sound quality of the support band, but I needn't have been. The sound and music was excellent. All the old favorites were there, 'Mirror In The Bathroom', 'I Confess', 'Save It For Later', 'Ranking Full Stop' ,'Can't Get Used To Losing You',Hands Off She's Mine' ,'Twist and Crawl','Doors Of Your Heart','Click Click' and even 'Stand Down Margaret' which was a surprise, not heard them do that live before. In the words of Dave Wakeling, the party wasn't complete until the band has ruined a Smokey Robinson song and then proceeded to play 'Tears Of A Clown'.

Dave was definitely on form, joking with the crowd and keeping a straight face when the stage got invaded by lots of girls, attempting to dance with the band and failing very spectacularly. All in all, the crowd really enjoyed the concert, I for one have always been a fan and they definitely didn't disappoint. Then again, Dave Wakeling never does.

The real kicker was leaving the concert at past 1:00am and realising that the clocks go forward and we lose another hour. That really sucked on Sunday morning.