The English Beat

“Skanking” has nothing to do with Paris Hilton or any of her celebrity/ho ilk. The dance originated in Jamaican dancehalls in the ’60s, where clubgoers grooved to bluebeat, ska, rocksteady, and, eventually, reggae. It’s not hard to do—you stand square, slightly bent at the waist, rocking from one foot to the other, arms right-angled, swinging in an uppercut motion (don’t hit anyone; it’s not a mosh pit). Expect an open-air outbreak of skanking this afternoon. The English Beat are the second of 23 scheduled bands in the downtown Out to Lunch summer concert series (which runs most Wednesdays and Fridays through Sept. 3). The Beat, from working-class Birmingham, made their mark in the late ’70s/early ’80s as a wildly popular, multiracial, second-generation ska band. With chugging rhythms and punk energy, they and offered up a message of peace, respect and unity—plus some sharp criticisms of Thatcher’s England. There’s only one original member left, vocalist/guitarist, Dave Wakeling, but his backing band is tight, and songs like “Save It for Later” and “I Confess” are timeless. (Westlake Park, 401 Pine St.) MICHAEL MAHONEY

Wednesdays, Fridays, 12-1:30 p.m. Starts: June 18. Continues through Sept. 3, 2010

 
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