Last month, I visited Durham, NC, for the Moogfest 2016 synthesizer festival. Among other things, I caught three nights of synth pioneer Gary Numan as he performed his first three albums.
While in Durham, I also took some time to explore the city. At a comfortable little club room called Arcana, local DJs host a monthly new wave night called “Durham Durham,” imitating the name of top new wave band Duran Duran. (The sign for the new wave club night mimics the cover of Duran Duran’s album “Seven and the Ragged Tiger!”)
Driving back to DC, it struck me: Our fair city no longer has a monthly party dedicated solely to new wave music. We have plenty of retro parties, many of which are very new wave-friendly. But at this time, we were lacking a dedicated monthly party for bands like Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Tears for Fears, New Order, The Human League, ABC, Culture Club, Eurythmics, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Ultravox, Visage, Blondie, Talking Heads, DEVO, Missing Persons, Berlin, Romeo Void, The Cars, and many others.
Well, I’ve long held the philosophy, “If you want something done right, you should do it yourself!”
So welcome to Careless Memories: A New Wave Party, on the second Thursday of every month at Dodge City (917 U St. NW, DC), starting in July. It is my hope that you will join me each month to celebrate the beautiful, optimistic, upbeat New Wave genre, as played from my extensive personal collection of music. I review performances by many bands from the new wave, post-punk, and new romantic styles on this very blog, and you will hear those bands during Careless Memories.
You know, people often ask me, “Why has the music of the ’80s endured so well?”
There are several answers, but the one I like most is the wave of creativity that came in the late ’70s as synthesizers dropped in price and became widely available. The commoditization of the synthesizer made it available to a wide array of artists, who experimented with the new technology in a manner very similar to how a wave of social media mavens today have turned to film and photography applications and equipment formerly unavailable to them. Much of the resulting synth-based music was very good and survives in our public consciousness in part because subsequent popular music genres turned their back on synthesizers until their recent revival.
The unbound creativity of synth pioneers produced New Wave, which flourished from 1976-1985 but continues to produce innovative bands and fantastic music through today!
Join me in raising a glass to that awesome New Wave sound. If you like, RSVP on Facebook!
Careless Memories: A New Wave Party
Thursday, July 14