Monday, November 4, 2013

I Love the 80s Weekend Recap: The Legwarmers

My take on Debbie Harry, aka Blondie, aka singer of  the first "Call Me" hit (sorry Carly Rae...)
The Legwarmers (I had a crush on the guitarist on the left. He and I were wearing the same  red wayfarers, so of course it was love at first... shaded sight)

This past weekend for a friend's birthday, I went with a big group of people to see The Legwarmers, an 80's cover band, at the Trocadero Theatre in South Philly. I had no idea what to expect since I had never heard of the band or been to the Troc venue before, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Almost all of the live performances I have been to in the past have either been large concerts for well-known artists and bands or small-ish gathering for trendy indie rock bands. The Legwarmers concert was nothing like either of those at all. In fact it was not comparable to anything I have experienced yet. Picture, if you will, a medium-sized vintage concert hall filled with people ranging from age 21 to 60 decked out in sparkly blazers, neon spandex, multi-colored crinoline tutus, legwarmers (of course),wayfarers, rocking faux mullet wigs and side ponytails all singing and banging their heads to hits like "Tainted Love," "Don't Stop Believin'," and "Like a Virgin."

Funny video by The Legwarmers

The night was exactly what my 13-year-old-80's-obsessed-anachronistic self would have loved. I was (and still am) one those people who assume that any other time period than the one I am currently living in was better in almost every possible way. My entire 8th grade year consisted of watching movies like St. Elmo's Fire, Teen Witch, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, Weekend at Bernies (basically anything starring my onscreen boyfriend, Andrew McCarthy), listening to Queen, Van Halen, Journey, ZZ Top, John Mellencamp, Styx, The Clash, Guns 'n Roses, Cyndi Lauper, Whitesnake, Talking Heads, Madonna, U2, George Michael etc., etc., etc. and lamenting the fact that I was not born 15 years earlier. 

Take on Me music video by a-ha

I was convinced that the political climate of the 80's was the most fascinating and critical of American history and that almost everything about the "ME, ME, ME" generation revolution that occurred during those ten years set the stage for the current teenage American consumer culture. To me, the 80's made the strange and greedy technicolor world I was living in make more sense. It was a love/hate relationship that I still wrangle with today, and this past weekend reminded me of that torrid old flame I still have for useless plastic neon bracelets, sparkly excess, guys in pastel polo shirts with popped colors and music that could be coined as "heavy metal lite" otherwise known as heavy metal doused in sugar. If you have a chance, definitely try to see The Legwarmers at some point in your life. It was a fun, musical experience that was well worth the $15 ticket charge. (Rumor has it they are coming back to the Troc in February!) 

Below is the music video to one of my favorite 80's songs of all time, "We Didn't Start the Fire" (which taught me everything I ever needed to know about world history and which I can still remember listening to in my dad's car as young as about 5 years old) by Billy Joel. Surprisingly, the first time I saw this video was earlier this year when I had an unusually strong desire to hear the song at work and looked it up on you-tube. I was struck by its powerful visual message and how it cycles through important historical changes through the lens of the ever-evolving institution of marriage.  P.S., please note that the teenage girl in the video is the pink ranger from Power Rangers... 

"We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel

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