The Saint seems to have had a lucky streak with Dave Wakeling, frontman for 1980s bands The English Beat and General Public, bringing his current lineup of The English Beat to the venue on his recent tours. Friday night’s show marked the third occasion in two years that the well-known musician performed in Reno over the past two years.
And while one person next to me excitedly exclaimed that she had listened to the band forever and this was her first time seeing them live, others danced near the front of the stage seemed on far more familiar terms with the group.
The band clicked with the room from the moment they started playing, giving a very upbeat performance that ran straight through a mix of English Beat and General Public material, as well as a few covers. At one point, following a song that incorporated quite a bit of whistling from Wakeling, he laughingly commented that he is one of the only singers who provides his own whistling on the records, mentioning that Sting and others use “this Austrian guy.” And though those whistles resonated a little too shrilly through the club’s sound system, it was a lone hiccup throughout the night.
The band excels at playing its hits in extended format, locking onto a groove and carrying it on while the crowd moved across the floor accordingly. And even as a fan of their records, their live renditions of songs such “Mirror In The Bathroom” and “Save It For Later” far exceed the catchiness of the recorded music.
After about 90 minutes, the band left the stage, heading onto the Saint’s rear patio to hang out with fans. With several visits over the past couple years, Saturday’s show gave evidence of an eager audience. Hopefully, the streak of fun shows by The English Beat doesn’t slow down here.
— Shaun Astor