Someone old, someone new, both in red shoes: Dave Wakeling (left), original vocalist for The English Beat, and King Sasha got the Dakota's audience on its feet Tuesday night.
Gyrating fans of The English Beat didn’t seem to mind that Dave Wakeling was the only original member in this particular incarnation of the ‘80s two-tone ska band on stage at the Dakota Tuesday night. Wakely’s instantly recognizable vocals and legendary whistling prowess were given an extra shot of energy by the onstage antics and shameless audience flirting of the hair-extension-flipping new show pony at his side, King Sasha. It’s no accident that the charismatic Sasha is reminiscent of a young Ranking Roger, Wakeling's former bandmate who now heads his own offshoot of the Beat in the UK while Wakeling covers the U.S. territory. The band, which plays again tonight, alternated between songs from its new crowdfunded album, “For Crying Out Loud,” and the old faves this crowd was here for, including “Save It for Later,” and a particularly rousing “Mirror in the Bathroom.” Wakeling didn’t inject as much political bite into his onstage banter as in the old days, but for one zinger, as a preamble to the Margaret Thatcher burn “Stand Down Margaret.” In response to the news that there’s a push afoot in Britain to build a multimillion-dollar center dedicated to the former Prime Minister’s historical and cultural achievements, he said he didn’t see the need: “We’ve already got food banks everywhere for that.”