Friday, March 30, 2012

The Molly Ringwalds (Mar. 24, 2012)

When I got an invite to head down to the Capt'n Fun Beach Club on Pensacola Beach last Saturday, I had to think it over.

I'm not much for going out--not into the club scene, don't really want to be in the middle of a crowd. I'd rather have a book and a quiet spot in which to read it. I've only gotten more insular since Aorta Day--only now I don't read much. If I'm in that quiet spot, it won't be long before I'm asleep.

I finally decided to go just for the sake of being somewhere else. I brought a sketchbook and some pens.

I'd heard of the Molly Ringwalds, but never had an interest in seeing them before. About all I knew about them was that they're an '80s cover band.

Let's skip all the pre-gig stuff (dinner, hiking back and forth on the Boardwalk, trying to find a chair, sitting and sketching a nearby ice cream shop) that killed the few hours before 11:30 pm and get to it. I perched on a stool on the Boardwalk where I could see maybe a third of the stage (no seats where they were playing, unfortunately).

The Ringwalds' personae are easily recognizable 80s pop-culture icons:
--singer/guitarist "Devon" dressed as Adam Ant
--singer/guitarist "Randi" as one of the Devo guys
--singer/keyboardist "Dickie" as Pee-wee Herman
--bass player "Philip" as Dee "Twisted Sister" Snyder
--drummer "Liam" as Nikki Sixx

Over the next two hours, they kicked ass. Devon, Randi and Dickie traded off a lead singer depending on the needs of a given song. Devon did a passable Prince in the opening "Let's Go Crazy"; Dickie used his higher range for "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," screamed through "Cum On Feel The Noize," and Randi wailed through "Don't Stop Believin' ."

The band put as much effort into performing each song as they did in making it fun. Far from being a bunch of shoe-gazers, they cavorted on stage, took impressive slugs from a big Crown Royal bottle, got various drunk girls in the audience to sing along, and generally just played the hell out of it. They had their own sound guy off to the left of the stage and a professional lighting and sound setup. Very professional.

They kept it up for two solid hours. The audience--split between Spring Break college kids ("Wow! look at all the OLD people here!") and us 40-ish old farts who could vaguely remember when the songs were new ("You damn kids stay off my lawn!")--danced and sang along and generally had a blast.

The set list:

Let's Go Crazy
We Got the Beat
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
Goody Two Shoes
Walk This Way (Run DMC version)
Talking In Your Sleep
Personal Jesus
When Doves Cry / Sweet Dreams / drunk girl sing-along
Another One Bites the Dust (Pee-wee killed it on vocals!)
Tom Sawyer (Pee-wee again)
Separate Ways (Devo guy on vocals)
Boys of Summer
Don't You Forget About Me
Blister in the Sun
Push It (Salt-n-Pepa)
What About Love?
Hungry Like the Wolf
Sweet Child o' Mine
In the Air Tonight
Take On Me
Livin' On a Prayer
I Don't Wanna Lose You Love Tonight
Cum On Feel the Noize
Don't Stop Believin'

If these guys show up in your area, they're well worth seeing.

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