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When I was 14 and getting garbage grades, my school-appointed “mentor” gave me an English Beat CD. That’s an unusual choice for get-your-life-on-track tunes; with its early ’80s keys-and-bass combination, “Mirror in the Bathroom” sure sounds like an ode to snorting up. Still, this middle-aged guy knew what he was doing. That’s because, at the risk of angering New Jersey, British ska is always better than the stateside equivalent. Coming out of a 1970s scene obsessed with horns and Jamaica—instead of, say, a basement in Montclair, N.J.—The English Beat’s “2 Tone” revival scene was all about racial harmony and disliking Margaret Thatcher. The English Beat had four or five new wave hits, along with other jams about how much they weren’t into the Falklands War, before splitting into factions. Thankfully, they haven’t split up the hits. In other words, they’ll play “Save It For Later” when the current iteration plays the 9:30 Club. The English Beat performs at 7 p.m. at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $25. (202) 265-0930. 930.com.