Thursday, August 1, 2013

Thursday Night in Coney Island: Seaside Summer Concert Series present The Go-Gos in the rain at West 21st Street & Surf Avenue

From the New York Music Daily review by delarue:
Was it worth standing in the rain for three hours Thursday night at Coney Island to see the Go-Go’s? Hell yeah! That the most refreshingly original band of 1981 would still be together, and touring nationally, and arguably sounding better than they did thirty-two years ago might be more improbable than their success as one of the best-loved new wave bands. In the time that’s passed, they’ve regrouped and toured sporadically; this time out found them trading the guitar jangle for a raw roar. Watching them play a brief, barely 45-minute set to a patient and adoring crowd of probably fewer than five hundred diehards seemed akin to seeing them in a small club at the moment before their classic debut album, Beauty & the Beat, defied all odds and went platinum.
(Video courtesy aldovernal) (Video courtesy jamieMoroni)

(Video courtesy AUGIE CHICAS)
They were just as fresh and unselfconscious and unscriptedly fun here as they were then (plenty of live footage from that era has surfaced at youtube and elsewhere). Frontwoman Belinda Carlisle was just as snarkily funny as always and hits the notes closer to head-on than she used to. Guitarist Jane Wiedlin has traded her Fenders for Gibson SG’s, on this tour at least, for extra firepower, and the band is now wisely relying on her beautiful high soprano voice more than ever. Drummer Gina Schock served as emcee and is more down-to-earth and funny than you would imagine after having seen her photo on the first album’s sleeve. Bassist Kathy Valentine’s absence left enormous shoes to fill, but the band had the good sense to get the obvious choice to replace her, Abby Travis, whose wicked chops and spot-on vocals blended in lusciously. Along with their hits, the band played that one Carlisle hit that still gets airplay on easy-listening radio; it would have been nice if they’d done one of Travis’ brilliant, harmony-rich, artsy songs as well. But with the rain, there wasn’t time.
(Video courtesy jamieMoroni)

(Video courtesy aldovernal)

They opened with Vacation, which at this point in time might be their biggest hit. In concert, they used to do the trebly but irresistible pop hit as a lush, crescendoing art-rock anthem; this time out, it was fast, burning punk-pop. Travis propelled their cover of Cool Jerk with a slinky pulse as the audience clapped and swayed, lost in the groove. The best song of the night was a rich, resounding version of How Much More, done as they might have if that track had been on their 1983 powerpop masterpiece, Talk Show, instead of the first album. A pummelling punk/powerpop cover of Paint It Black drew on the Avengers’ version, followed by an unexpected, rare treat, the sardonic Cool Places, lead guitarist Charlotte Caffey switching from Fender Jazzmaster to woozy, bassy synth. She murdered her electric piano with a stiletto staccato on a rapidfire Head Over Heels; the band closed with Our Lips Are Sealed, then We Got the Beat with Kiss’ I Wanna Rock N Roll All Night in the middle and then encored with I Wanna Be Sedated, a shout-out to “the band that made us want to do this,” as Wiedlin told the crowd.
(See the rest of New York Music Daily review here.)

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