English Beat 

Sept. 11, Reef

When the English Beat's Dave Wakeling (who was born in Birmingham, England, but has lived in L.A. for the last 20 years) is touring--or shopping, or driving, or walking, or eating--one thing is often at the front of his mind: politics.

The band's mainstream fame peaked in the early '80s, but they still have a huge following. Wakeling has a new album coming out in 2011, and in 2009, played roughly 170 live shows. He's a lovely, loquacious man with plenty of time between cities to read, watch the telly and think about the current state of affairs in his adopted country.

"There's a huge sea change going on in America now, isn't there?" Wakeling asked rhetorically. "We're climatizing to the loss of empire ... It's alright talking about democracy as long as you're the one in charge." When the English Beat plays Reef on Saturday, Sept. 11, you can be sure Wakeling will have something to say about the date.

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