Over the Weekend: Flock of Seagulls, When in Rome, Gene Loves Jezebel and Dramarama at the House of Blues

Flock of Seagulls, When in Rome, Gene Loves Jezebel, Dramarama
The House of Blues
May 22, 2009

(Just Barely) Better Than: Starring in my own reality show called Dancing with the MILFs.

Advertised as "Lost '80s Live," the quadruple bill sponsored by a local radio station attracted a decent-sized crowd to the House of Blues on Friday night, most of which didn't mind forking over nearly $40 for a ticket. I suppose ten bucks a band isn't a bad price to pay but, bearing in mind that not one of these acts consisted of all original members, a discount may have been in order.

The night started off wonderfully as Los Angeles' power pop band Dramarama hit the stage promptly at 8. Led by husky frontman John Easdale, the band made its way through a dozen should-have-been hits such as "Work for Food," "Anything, Anything" and "Last Cigarette." I always wondered why the band never hit it big(ger) back in the day--its mix of Duran Duran's sensuality and Replacements-style rag tag charm seemed like a sure fire ticket to stardom.

But alas, here Easdale and crew were, spending a Friday night in Dallas, jump-starting the memories of a couple hundred folks who somehow knew the best was not yet to come.

Next up was Michael Aston's version of Gene Loves Jezebel. Knowing that Michael's twin brother Jay might have be somewhere else, performing in his own, competing version made things a little depressing: "If it were up to me, I would have ended this set five songs ago," Aston told the crowd.

He would have done well to have acted upon his wish: GLJ was a retread band in the '80s and, on this night, even the "hits" like "Desire" and "The Motion of Love" could be bettered by any number of local cover bands.

Semi-local one hit wonders When in Rome were up next. Only keyboardist Michael Floreale remains from the band that formed in England in the late '80s, and Floreale now resides in Dallas. His collection of sidemen faithfully made their way through the slick and sentimental dross, culminating in "The Promise." It was like being stuck in a movie theater and having to watch "Sixteen Candles" for the rest of eternity.

Finally, at 11 p.m., Mike Score and the most recent version of Flock of Seagulls took the stage. By this point, half the crowd appeared to have made its way home. But Score and crew dutifully played legitimate hits such as "I Ran" and "Wishing," while those remaining in attendance swayed and recalled the days when everyone had more hair and less body fat.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
Go buy 18 Big Ones: The Best of Dramarama today.

By The Way: The crowd had to be a 60/40 female, and those females ranged in age from 40 to 60. Lots of drinking + lots of "dancing" = surefire hangovers accompanied by a run to CVS for some Bengay for this set...

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