New Wave Crazy: Blondie & Devo Hit Arena Theatre September 19 (UPDATED)
UPDATE: According to Press Here Publicity, the venue is Arena Theatre, not Bayou Music Center. Everything else is the same.
This makes me happier than anything on a Monday morning should. I listen to music in cycles, and for the past several months have been stuck in the '80s, more specifically anything with a British accent: Depeche Mode, Echo & the Bunnymen, New Order, Simple Minds. Yanks are OK too, though.
So it made me very happy indeed to find out this morning that two American bands that also helped define that New Wave moment in music, Devo and Blondie, will co-headline
Bayou Music Center the Arena Theatre September 19 on the "Whip It To Shreds" tour. Haha.
Both bands were born into the bloated arena-rock culture of the mid-'70s, but both had very different ideas about what to do with it.
Devo started out playing frat parties in northern Ohio but often found themselves at odds with their audience, leading to cuttingly satirical songs like "Jocko Homo." Their synthesizer-heavy music and robotic rhythms sucked out all the pomp and circumstance of bands like Journey and Boston -- not to mention the Rolling Stones, with a bloodless cover of "Satisfaction" that became one of Devo's biggest Top 40 hits.
Blondie, meanwhile, was born at the collision of two crucial New York City subcultures: Punk rock and disco. Drummer Clem Burke and guitarist Chris Stein (the two other remaining original Blondies) combined the two in expert ways, and savvy front woman Debbie Harry struck all the right blonde-bombshell stage moves to became an old-fashioned pop star.
Creatively, both Blondie and Devo foundered in the mid-'80s and spent the bulk of the '90s and '00s working on other projects: Harry's dabbled in acting and had a solo career that occasionally grazed the Billboard Dance charts; Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh became a prolific TV and film composer (Happy Gilmore, several Wes Anderson films).
In more recent years, both bands have recaptured some of their old magic. Blondie has more or less been active since 1999's No Exit and most recently released last year's Panic of Girls. (Single "Mother" ought to make the September set list, as well it should.) Devo made an especially strong return to form with their 2010 album Something for Everybody, which showed their satirical teeth were still plenty sharp.
Blondie and Devo may no longer be at the cutting edge, but they haven't lost their edge either. Both bands continue to cast a long shadow, especially in the way they made both synth-pop and dance music appealing to a rock crowd who never forgot.
Tickets go on sale Friday, June 15, through the usual outlets we assume. Since this release came from the tour itself and not Live Nation, you never know. But it's probably Ticketmaster.
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