Saturday, October 29, 2016

The B-52's, Mother Feather and Iridesense

It was Denise's birthday this week. This makes me happy, because it means that she and I are the same age again. My birthday is in March, so every March I have a birthday and become one year older than her. Then, in October, she has a birthday and catches up. Now she'll tell you that she never catches up, that no matter what, I'll always be 6 months older than her. Well pish posh! Everyone knows you round birthdays down, and you don't turn that next age until your next birthday. So we're the same age again -- both 26 years old. <cough, cough>.

Now Denise's 3 favorite musical artists of all time would be probably be David Bowie, Blondie and The B-52's. (Not a surprise if you ever saw her old band The Slant, which was heavily influenced by both Blondie and the B's). Neither of us has ever seen Bowie, and of course, sadly, now we never will. We have seen Blondie. (In fact, I've seen more of Blondie than I probably ever expected to, since she accidentally flashed her butt at me due to her unfamiliarity with the revolving stage at The Westbury Music Fair). But we've seen The B-52's a number of times, and they always put on a great show. So for her birthday, I got her tickets to see The B-52's for their Halloween Scream show at The Space in Westbury.

I'd never been to The Space before (was really bummed that we missed Garbage there last year), so I was looking forward to checking out the venue. And before the show, we got two nice surprises. The first was about a week before the event, when I found out that Iridesense was going to be playing downstairs in the venue's lounge before the show that night. Iridesense is one of my favorite local bands of all time. I loved them so much that back in the '90s, I briefly formed a record company, Rock Diva Records, where their album Cool Dream Tomorrow was one of 3 CDs I put out (along with The Slant's Try This and Soundings and Fathoms by Blue Abyss). We haven't seen them perform in several years, because over the last few years while our kids were growing up, we didn't get out much. So I was totally psyched to see them again.

The second pleasant surprise was that the opening act upstairs turned out to be a band I was familiar with, New York City's own Mother Feather. Based on a recommendation from Alternative Press magazine, I had picked up their new self-titled CD earlier in the year, and both Denise and I enjoyed it (which doesn't always happen), listening in the car this summer on our way upstate and back.

The lounge at The Space turned out to be a comfy place to see a band. As we got there, Iridesense was scurrying around to set up for a hard 7:15 starting time, as many of their longtime fans shuffled into the room.

If you're not familiar with them, Iridesense features the sister/brother team of Tara and Rick Eberle, with Tara singing most of the leads these days, and Rick providing the harmonies. Rick plays rhythm guitar, Tara plays bass, with Tara's husband Rich Drouin on drums, and Rob Viccari on lead guitar. They are one of the primary proponents of what they call "popcore", cutting-edge pop rock with an emphasis on hooks and catchy tunes.

Iridesense didn't disappoint. The band took me through many of my favorites over the years, including songs like "History in the Making", "Got It Good", "Gasoline", and their contribution (if I can ever get it all together) to my planned jukebox musical Eyeball Eaters From Outer Space, "Star". (I'll tell you more about my masteriece sometime soon). They also performed their newest song "The Line". The two highlights of their set were, "Dangerous Game" (my favorite Iridesense song of all time, and the one that I blew my voice out on last night by singing along), and the funky and fun "Round and Round". They closed a very successful performnce with another old favorite "Holiday".

After their set, Denise and I scooted inside to our balcony seats (because at 26 years old <cough, cough>, I'm too damned old to spend the night standing on the main floor). Overall, my impressions of The Space were pretty positive. It's a converted old movie theater, and from what I hear, it was a bit of a horror show back in the day. (Our friend Bill once set the girls behind the candy counter into fits of hysterical screaming when he showed them that the candy they had sold him was infested with bugs). But it's all been redone, and it's looking pretty good. Compared to The Paramount, they're a little less greedy on their drink and snack prices, but because the balcony is so far from the stage, they could really use a couple of big screens like The Paramount has, so I guess it evens out. The sound was unfortunately not that great for Mother Feather, although it was better for The B's.

Mother Feather turned out to be a really good fit to open for the B's. Like the B's, they're a very LGBT friendly band (their singer Ann Courtney and backup vocalist/keyboard player Elizabeth Carena are a couple), and even more to the point, like The B-52's, they're fucking weird (in a good way!) I'm not even going to describe what Courtney was wearing for this show, but it looked a little like a swan-styled wedding dress. Carena wore a tux.

Now if there's one thing Denise likes as much as The B-52's, it's all things Egyptian, so Mother Feather got on her good side right away by opening with their song "Egyptology", where they sing about "Me and my man Tuttankhamun" and some of their other buddies like Cleopatra and Osiris. It's silly, raucous party rock, which is pretty much what the crowd was looking for. Some other highlights of their set included "Trampoline" (one of my favorites from their album), "747", which Courtney and Carena performed with their arms straight up in the air on the chorus, as they waved the planes safely home like the air traffic controllers they were singing about, and "Awesome", a new song they wrote about how great it felt to be invited to open the B-52's Halloween show.

I was a little disappointed they didn't perform my favorite song from their album, "Beach House", which I think has single potential for them, but it's one of their more laid back songs, and laid back was clearly not what they were going for last night. Anyway, Denise was up on social media earlier today, and from what she read to me, it sounds like Mother Feather made themselves a bunch of new fans last night with the B-52's' crowd.

After a much-too-long break between sets, The B's hit the stage at about 9:20. Naturally, they were dressed up for Halloween, with Cindy Wilson dressed like one of those angels from that godawful new Corey Feldman band, Kate Pierson dressed as some sort of purple-haired space goddess, and Fred Schneider wearing a dress and blonde wig. Now you've got to hand it to Fred -- when most guys dress in drag, even for Halloween, they go for glamour. Not Fred. In  a sight I'll never quite get it out of my brain, he went more for the Midwestern-granny-in-a-house-smock look. I'll never be able to burn those skinny legs out of my memory! Oh well.

Unsurprisingly, The B's did their usual great set, which included highlights like "Roam", "Whammy Kiss", "Dance This Mess Around", "Channel Z", "Mesopotamia", and a relatively newer song I especially like "Is That You, Modean?" At one point, someone in the crowd requested "Monster in My Pants" from Fred's solo album, but he laughed it off, saying "Not dressed like this!" They did perform two of my top favorites, "Private Idaho" and "Deadbeat Club", although at one point, Kate and Cindy accidentally wound up singing at cross purposes on that one. But it was all good.

The B's closed their set with their first big hit "Rock Lobster", then came back for an encore of "Planet Claire" and, of course, "Love Shack".

Considering how apathetic I was feeling about music earlier in the year, this show really satisfied my appetite. So Happy Birthday, Denise! Glad we got to celebrate being the same age again. :)