Inside D.C. entertainment

This weekend's D.C. concerts: '80s nostalgia!

November 3, 2011 - 12:18 PM
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Scratch Acid
Scratch Acid photos: A surefire cure for nostalgia.

The dreaded phrase "'80s music" immediately conjures images of Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Bon Jovi, as well as a whole slew of one-hit wonders perhaps better forgotten (Dexys Midnight Runners, I'm looking at you. You, too, Mr. Mister.). But there was more to the '80s than pop radio, and some of those less well-remembered bands are playing around town this weekend.

Scratch Acid

Friday, Nov. 4, at the 9:30 Club, $25

Scratch Acid was a short-lived noise-punk band from Austin, Texas. The group broke up in 1987 and hasn't played since except for a brief three-show reunion in 2006. Its members went on to other bands: guitarist David Wm. Sims and drummer Rey Washam joined legendary noisemaker Steve Albini in Rapeman; Sims and vocalist David Yow later founded the outstanding Chicago noise-rock band the Jesus Lizard. Still, Scratch Acid is where it all began, and you may not get many other chances to see them-- the band announced this tour as a warm-up to their show at the ATP festival, and Yow now spends more time making art than music.


Sebastian Bach

Friday, Nov. 4, at Jaxx, $27

Oh, Sebastian Bach: a name doodled in notebooks all over the '80s. Although he was fired from Skid Row (supposedly for booking the band as an opening act for Kiss), his career hasn't seemed to suffer. He formed a supergroup, the Last Hard Men, with members of the Smashing Pumpkins, the Frogs, and the Breeders; he performed on Broadway; he hosted VH1's Forever Wild; and, of course, he -- and his luscious golden locks -- had a recurring role on Gilmore Girls.


Saturday, Nov. 5 at the State Theatre, $28

Of all the one-hit-wonders from the '80s and '90s, who would've thought that one from Wisconsin would last nearly three decades? BoDeans' greatest hit-- "Closer to Free" -- didn't hit the charts until the '90s, later gaining popularity as the theme song for the TV show Party of Five. But BoDeans' longevity is not to be ignored: after all, the group won the dubious title of "Best New American Band" in a Rolling Stone readers poll after its 1986 debut album Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams. Only one original member -- vocalist/guitarist Kurt Neumann -- still remains in the band; his co-founding singer/guitarist (and high school buddy) Sam Llanas left the group this summer. The band has been releasing albums steadily since the '80s, but it's a safe bet this set will feature many of the old hits.


Sunday, Nov. 6, at the Fillmore, $30

New York City band Anthrax might not have weathered the test of time as well as its fellow '80s thrash metal counterparts Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer, but it did leave one significant mark on music history in the form of "Bring Tha Noise," a collaboration with hip-hop group Public Enemy (also in Anthrax's win column, no Lou Reed collaboration so far). Now, some theorize that the mook anthem and subsequent joint tour paved the way for the rap/metal fusion of bands like Limp Bizkit, so perhaps you should go to the show to have a word with Anthrax.



Sunday, Nov. 6, at Jaxx, $23

Today's Misfits are a mere shadow of the group that pioneered horror punk music in the late '70s and early '80s. Founder/songwriter/singer Glenn Danzig disbanded the group in 1983 to work on other projects (rock band Samhain and his own solo work), and after a lengthy legal battle over royalties, bassist Jerry Only and guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein were permitted to record and perform as the Misfits in 1995. As during its initial run, the group has had a slew of lineup changes after its reformation, with Only as the only remaining member from its original years.

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