Farrington + Mann impressed as a standout act during Lost ’80s Live at Warner Theatre on Sept. 21, 2018. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)
If a theater full of people singing their hearts out to “I Ran (So Far Away)” by A Flock of Seagulls doesn’t move you, I don’t know what else to say! If it sounds pretty exciting, read on for a recap of Lost ’80s Live, the hit-a-minute machine that brought Gene Loves Jezebel, Annabella Lwin of Bow Wow Wow, Farrington+Mann of When in Rome, Animotion, Naked Eyes, Wang Chung, and A Flock of Seagulls to the Warner Theatre on Friday.
JR Russell fronts The Reflex in a show at Cathdral Commons on Friday, Aug. 4, 2017.
“In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum-security stockade to the Los Angeles underground.
Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire…” “THE REFLEX!”
So goes the audio track introducing the DC area’s tuffest ’80s cover band — The Reflex. In all seriousness, The Reflex, who usually perform as a quintet, deliver terrific carefree fun, mixing every single one of your favorite songs from the ’80s into a kitsch-laden show sure to please — as they proved in a Friday evening performance at Cathedral Commons in DC.
Howard Jones (Photo by David Conn)
“Do you feel scared? I do, but I won’t stop and falter.”
So, sang Howard Jones in his smashing 1985 hit “Things Can Only Get Better,” which in my opinion perfectly framed Howard’s ethos. The Englishman is unflappably upbeat and optimistic, and he makes fantastically irresistible music still today.
Today is a presale for the touring ’80s festival known as the Retro Futura Tour, which stops at Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore on Sunday, July 30. DC folks may remember it as The Regeneration Tour, but it has been reshaped and rebranded since its visits to Wolf Trap a few years back!
Visit Live Nation and use the presale code MAGIC until 10pm today to get advance tickets to see the 2017 tour with Howard Jones, The English Beat, Modern English, Men Without Hats, Katrina (formerly of Katrina and the Waves), and Annabella Lwin (formerly of Bow Wow Wow, standing in for Paul Young on July 30). Tickets become available to the public on Friday.
11 things to look forward to on the Nationals’ homestand from June 10-15.
Get your tickets here!
1) Da Cubs. After getting swept by the Cubs in four games (May 5-8), the Nationals are ready to show the world (June 13-15) what they are made of. Against the team that has best record in baseball.
2) NatsPass! Get a ticket to every home game in June for just $50! Do it!
3) Bryce Harper. May wasn’t a great month for Bryce. He also sat out a few games after getting hit by a pitch. June will be the month he gets hot.
4) 80’s Night. With the all important free fanny pack on Friday, June 10th.
5) Legwarmers. See a pregame concert (5:00-6:30pm) on Friday, June 10th.
6) Get on the field. Both a Seniors Stroll the Bases (June 11) and a Kids Run the Bases (June 12).
7) Steven Strasburg. Tied for 1st in wins (9) and 4th in strikeouts (100), Steven’s NL Cy Young chances are not out of the question. Although, beating out Kershaw and Arrieta will be tough.
8) Nats love dogs. Keep bringing your Pups to the Park #4 on Monday, June 13th.
9) $1 Good Humor ice cream on Tuesday, June 14th.
10) Fanny pack not enough? Come back on Wednesday, June 15th and get a free Tote Bag.
11) Seriously, the NatsPass. 10 home games in June for $50.
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.
Cyndi Lauper (Photo by Chapman Baehler)
The inimitable Cyndi Lauper will soon launch a tour in support of her new album, Detour, a collection of covers of country songs, due out this Friday, May 6, via Sire Records.
For seven dates on that tour, including a stop at Wolf Trap in Vienna, Va., on Wednesday, June 1, Cyndi will share a stage with another icon of pop music in the 1980s — Boy George, lead singer of Culture Club.
Earlier this week, Cyndi held a telephone press conference with several music and arts reporters to chat about her new album and the tour. The following transcript has been edited for brevity and focus.
Q: Can you tell us how you came to record an album of country classics?
Cyndi Lauper: These covers and this time in country music are very closely linked to R&B, which is very closely linked to the birth of rock and roll. So it’s the foundation of everything I sing. When I was a kid, these songs were pop songs — Patsy Cline was on the radio, Loretta Lynn was on the radio. We had three radio stations! They were on the radio.
Jenna O’Gara leads the girls on stage for “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” at the Howard on Oct. 16, 2015.
“Jessie is a band/
Yeah, I know it’s been a good 80s cover band.”
Usually closely held by denizens of New York City, Jessie’s Girl brought its brightly lit guitar solos to the Howard Theatre on Friday night to an ardent audience happy to dance their hearts out.
The seven-person ensemble rocks out with a wide variety of tunes from the ’80s, ranging from artists like Prince, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, A-ha, Loverboy, and more. Friday, they bound onto the stage with intro music borrowed from “The Final Countdown” by Europe and then proceeded to dive headlong into kinetic tributes to musicians who defined a decade.
Early in the show, the band jumps into “Working for the Weekend” by Loverboy, encouraging the crowd to hop around the room, hands raised in celebration. Singers Jenna O’Gara and Mark Rinzel trade off vocal duties for the song, pumping up the shamelessly lyrical fun of the song’s mission statement: Take a few days off to party!
Jenna O’Gara of Jessie’s Girl killing it at the Canal Room in New York City (Photo by Manish Gosalia)
If there’s one thing my old friends know about me, it’s that I like an ’80s dance party. (Check out my Parklife DC list of 80s parties if you want some evidence!)
And that’s one reason why I absolutely must check out a performance by New York City’s biggest ’80s cover band, Jessie’s Girl, who are visiting DC to perform at the Howard Theatre in a late show tomorrow night, Friday, Oct. 16.
And they are bringing along with them Rob Base, the hip hop artist perhaps best known for the ’80s hit “It Takes Two” with the late DJ E-Z Rock. In concert with Jessie’s Girl, Rob Base has performed his signature songs “It Takes Two” and “Joy & Pain” (…are like sunshine and rain)!
Watch Jessie’s Girl get a little new wave with their cover of “Take on Me” by A-ha on YouTube:
And lest you make the mistake of thinking that Jessie’s Girl are heavy on flash and light on talent, watch this charming acoustic studio cover of “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper:
Tickets are available online. This is a great opportunity for all of us to see this fun cover band in our own backyard. See you there for a totally awesome time!
Back to the 80s
Special Performance by Rob Base
Friday, Oct. 16
Earlier this year, DC9 kindly hosted me for Synchronicity: A New Wave Party, where I celebrated 30 years since the commercial peak of new wave music.
Well, you wouldn’t know it had been so long judging from the number of parties celebrating the 1980s in DC this month! Almost all of these parties are ongoing affairs, enabling you to get your monthly fix of what some call ‘80s music every month.
Fire up the DeLorean and jump back to the future with me at all of the good parties below.
Party: Poseurs’ 32nd Anniversary Video Dance Party Reunion
The Scene: Back in the actual ‘80s, the place to be for great new music and to soak up the new wave subculture was the club Poseurs (formerly at 3405 M St. NW, DC) in Georgetown. Sadly, it’s long closed, but principals involved with the club and many of its loyal club hoppers have instituted an annual reunion party. This year that party takes place at DC9 (1940 9th St. NW, DC) on Saturday with DJ Mohawk Adam and special guests Michael Scruggs, Wayne Skate Deavers and Michael Olsen.
Although technically a reunion night, the party is open to the public. All you need is a ticket! And what better way to spend an ‘80s party than to rub shoulders with a dedicated crew who have tales to share of partying with Robert Smith of The Cure or Peter Hook of New Order in their club back in the day? Expect to hear songs from The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, New Order, Billy Idol and more, more, more.
Your next chance to go: Saturday, August. 15, at 9pm. The Poseurs Anniversary Dance Party tentatively happens annually. Tickets cost $12, online or at the door.