New Wave Crazy: Blondie & Devo Hit Arena Theatre September 19 (UPDATED)

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

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.

Follow Rocks Off on Facebook and on Twitter at @HPRocksOff.

Follow Rocks Off on Facebook and on Twitter at @HPRocksOff.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.