Recently, nerdcore '80s band The Spazmatics have been bringing their cover song chaos to L.A. clubs including Playhouse, The Key Club, and Rolling Stone's Hollywood & Highland venue. No other spot, however, has matched the rowdy good vibes of their popular residency at the Dragonfly. For seven years, the quartet has packed the 'Fly's main room with drunk girls who "just wanna have fun" and drunker guys looking to "whip it" good. Their triumphant Labor Day weekend return to the club saw plenty of both.
The fun foursome pulled out all the biggest hits of the '80s. While most of them were obvious -- "C'mon Eileen," "Rebel Yell," "I Love Rock n' Roll," "Sweet Dreams," "Jesse's Girl," "Footloose" -- what set them apart from your average bar-variety hit rockers is the way they rendered the retro. They used synchronized choreography, mini-mashup moments infusing riffs from current hits, and lots of audience participation.
The Spaz's are on the roster of Perfect World Entertainment, a management company specializing in raucous tribute acts that follow this formula. There are in fact, several Spazmatics line-ups across the country, each rocking greasy hair, taped eyeglasses and zany stage antics.
The Los Angeles Spazmatics started it all, though, and while the original Spaz's lost their beloved bass player last year (Matt Chidgey's passing occurred while hiking during last year's heavy California rains) he was there in spirit. The group paid tribute to him, donning buttons with his likeness, and hanging his signature helmet and his bass from the wall behind the stage. The popping, poignant and unpredictable set (the singer licked the toes of one fan on stage!) saw the guys revitalized on their old stomping grounds. And the evening sure was a stomper too: before and after the set, DJ John Lock had everyone moving like maniacs on the floor.
Personal Bias: We prefer more obscure 80's tracks to Wedding Singer faves, even if they are performed faster and louder than usual.
The Crowd: Twentysomethings shrieking and freaking to songs that came out before they were born.
Random Notebook Dump: Nerds can be sexy.