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State Theatre New Jersey

Review

The Decade that Changed the Music World

During the 1980s New Wave and Synthpop, both subcultures of Rock and Roll, were popular music genres.  MTV was born and it helped launch many careers with musical videos that became popular during the decade.  The bands that performed recently at State Theatre New Jersey  in the Lost 80's Live show were part of the New wave and Synthpop scene.    

Popular in the late 1970s and the 1980s with ties to mid-1970s punk rock, New Wave moved  away from Blues and Rock and Roll sounds to create rock music (early new wave) or pop music (later) that incorporated disco, mod, and electronic music.

Opening the show was Bow Wow Wow’s original vocalist Annabella Lwin.  Alone on stage, previously recorded music played as she sang a few tunes.  One of their most popular songs "I Want Candy" was an old favorite of mine; her voice brought me back to 1982.  The song was a cover of a 1965 hit by the Stangeloves.  She sang a few other songs to the packed house. 

A lot of music came out of the 1980s.  It was a unique time and a lot of different sounds were being expressed.  Synthesizers and electronic productions were common and so were distinctive visual styles.   Wang Chung, an English band formed in 1980 had five top 40 hits during 1983-1987.  They performed "Dance Hall Days" and "Everybody Have Fun Tonight."  

Naked Eyes performed "Always Something There to Remind Me," a cover of a Burt Bacharach/Hal David standard.  They also sang an original hit "Promises, Promises."   Animotion, the only U.S. band of the night, sang "Obsession" and it had the same funky sound as it did back in the day. They also sang "I Engineer."

The last act of the night, A Flock of Seagulls, was introduced as being influential during the 1980s for music and fashion!  The crowd enthusiastically welcomed the band; and they sang "I Ran (So Far Away)," and "Space Age Love Song," among others. The singer remarked that the 80s was alive and well and we were all in a time machine.  

While the 1980s have come and gone, these musicians are still performing and the fans are still showing up to hear their tunes.    The Lost 80's Live show brought back the decade that was an experimental one as musicians pushed through boundaries and invented funky new sounds, ultimately changing music forever.  

By Elizabeth C. Millar

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