Big D may just witness two of these returns. Two musical acts may rise from the ashes, or they may simply scurry around in them for a while and wilt into the void yet again. This week offers performances from Tone-Loc and the Human League. Could it really be? Could the rise of '80s has-beens be looming in the near future? Watch us as we hold our breath.
Why the cynicism, the disdain? Well, for one, we haven't fully erased from our minds that irritating keyboard line from the League's "(Keep Feeling) Fascination," and we never could really discern that "Wild Thing" and "Funky Cold Medina" are two different songs. (Apparently a common issue, since we've witnessed looks of confusion at karaoke nights when "Wild Thing" doesn't begin with, "Cold coolin' at a bar, and I'm lookin' for some action.") It also came to our attention whilst perusing the Internet that neither act has any new material as far as we can tell. And no, new greatest-hits compilations and/or remixes do NOT count.
More than willing to be proven wrong, we'll get ready for Tone's rasp and "Loc'ed After Dark" and see where the years have taken him since his No. 1 Billboard Pop Album chart status. Did he go old-school and stick with the rap hits that appealed to the middle-school masses, or did he go Vanilla Ice and try a crossover approach, trading rap for rock? There's also the mystery of whether his backing sound will consist of a DJ, a live band (please no) or a piped-in backing track. And oh, how we await the newest dance moves and pray for a tastelessly dressed company of Fly Girls.
As for the Human League, they outnumber the Loc three to one, but somehow we think that might add to the onstage disarray that could accompany their set list. After all, they provide an easier target for thrown objects, and after they play all of their three major hits, we can't guarantee the audience won't form an uprising out of sheer boredom.
Absolutely, we're being harsh. But why shouldn't we when neither group has given us anything but the past to look forward to? We can hear just about any of the hits on MIX 102.9 that we'll hear live at these performances. And if by chance either act is holding back to the press, ready to break out their new sound, then someone better get them a new PR guy, because their Top 40 legacy is no doubt doing ticket sales a disservice.
Oh sure, we'll give them a shot. If nothing else, we have to see what they look like now in person, since we can't trust Human League's airbrushy posters and we have no clue what Tone-Loc might be up to. There's also curiosity regarding the makeup of the audience. We doubt there will be any teen listeners who haven't come with their parents as part of some "See, I relate to you" night out. We have to notice who, besides the bands, hasn't left the '80s and how many acid-washed jeans and fingerless-gloves make their way into the venues. But then, we forgot that just like some '80s bands we may have mentioned here, that style is "making a comeback."