Revenge of the '80s 


click to enlarge Feeling pangs of nostalgia? Robert Smith and The Cure are on their way, as are Grandmaster Flash, Ziggy Marley, Britny Fox and The Buzzcocks - ANDY VELLA
  • Andy Vella
  • Feeling pangs of nostalgia? Robert Smith and The Cure are on their way, as are Grandmaster Flash, Ziggy Marley, Britny Fox and The Buzzcocks

If there's one thing people seem to enjoy in their music, it's nostalgia. There's a school of thought that supposes everyone's vision of utopia is a mild variant of one's own upbringing, and there's probably something to that.

The musical styles of the 1980s have had particular staying power, even though many of us thought we'd seen their apex with revivalist acts like The Killers, Franz Ferdinand and Interpol.

Heck, even the recently departed and dearly beloved Prince, despite having a long career and peerless ability as a singer, instrumentalist and producer, is largely relegated to being yet another "'80s pop star" in the collective subconscious — although this label isn't entirely unfair since he had a string of classic albums released between 1980 and 1987.

Well, if you "love the '80s," the good news is you're generally in luck, as there's no shortage of live music opportunities harkening back to the synth-heavy, four-on-the-floor sound that ruled the airwaves 30 years ago. Even if it seems slightly odd to revel in the trappings of an era when public health crises, the threat of military catastrophe, a sluggish economy, and downright awful hair were on the forefront of public consciousness, here's a fairly comprehensive look at the upcoming '80s revival surge of summer 2016.

Los Angeles glam metal band Faster Pussycat scored a gold album with 1989's Wake Me When It's Over and appeared in the second of Penelope Spheeris' Decline of Western Civilization rockumentaries, and they're still going (fairly) strong today. You can catch them at Golden's Buffalo Rose on May 12 with Dave Mansfield's local glam-rock outfit The Röxy Suicide.

May 21 brings the Project Pabst Festival to Denver, featuring everyone's favorite angsty folk-punk progenitors the Violent Femmes, fresh off their reunion album We Can Do Anything, released in early March. Of course, the festival also features such critic's darlings as Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Courtney Barnett, Charles Bradley, Big K.R.I.T. and Baroness.

San Diego punk rock act Rocket From the Crypt formed in 1989, so they technically make the cut for the '80s nostalgia trip. More importantly, they're one of the best live acts on the planet, so you'll win either way by catching their show at Summit Music Hall on May 21.

If classic punk is the '80s music you prefer to remember, the Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival at Summit Music Hall is bound to catch your attention. The three-day festival, running June 2 to 4, features The Buzzcocks, Flag, Millencolin, D.O.A., The Briefs, Anti-Nowhere League and more.

Chameleonic English singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock's mid-'80s albums I Often Dream of Trains and Fegmania! are touchstones in what later became known as "college rock," and he appears at Daniels Hall on June 3.

If you somehow didn't get enough hair metal with Faster Pussycat, you'd better head back up to the Buffalo Rose on June 4 to catch Britny Fox.

I wouldn't think The Cure need any sort of introduction, but in case you're unfamiliar with goth-rock's most prodigious balladeers, do yourself a favor and witness their show at Fiddler's Green on June 5.

Meanwhile, Ziggy Marley, heir to his father's reggae throne, plays the Denver Botanic Gardens on June 8. A lesser writer would probably insert a hilarious pot joke here, but that's just not the kind of publication we run.

Any overview of the '80s would be incomplete without a standout from the burgeoning hip-hop scene of the time, and legendary DJ Grandmaster Flash hits Red Rocks Amphitheatre on June 10, with jazz-funk combo Lettuce, The Wailers and Manic Focus in tow.

Finally, rap-rock innovator Chuck Mosley is making a tour stop in Colorado Springs next month. Mosley was lead vocalist for the wildly eclectic metal act Faith No More on their first two albums, We Care a Lot and Introduce Yourself, back in the mid-'80s.

Following his replacement by Mike Patton, Mosley went on to a stint in the revered early hardcore band Bad Brains. Subsequent efforts have included his wistfully titled Will Rap Over Hard Rock for Food album, as well as recent guest appearances at Faith No More live shows. Catch him with local hard rock trio Lamb Bed on June 11 at Sunshine Studios.

Send news, photos and music to reverb@csindy.com.

  • Well, if you "love the '80s," you're in luck this summer.


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