It's been a good year for music fans in Greater Cincinnati who are into ’80s Pop and want to see their heroes of yesteryear in a live setting. In just the past few months, we've been visited by everyone from Rick Springfield to Men Without Hats to Adam Ant.
It looks like those good ’80s vibes are going to continue into 2020. The 'SiriusXM Presents: Totally 80’s Live' tour is coming to Bogart's on Feb. 7, featuring The Motels, Bow Wow Wow and When In Rome.
But they're not all exactly the bands you may remember from their prime MTV stardom years.
The Motels visited Cincinnati way back in 1982 when they opened for the J. Geils Band at Riverfront Coliseum (aka U.S. Bank Arena) on that band's huge Freeze Frame tour. It was at the height of The Motels' career. Formed in California in the mid-’70s (originally as The Warfield Foxes), the band was fronted by compelling singer/guitarist Martha Davis. Amidst an initial major-label bidding war, the band broke up but was reformed soon after with a new lineup.
The "new" Motels signed with Capitol Records and had some light success with their 1979 self-titled debut, but its 1982 follow-up, All Four One, found a much wider audience thanks to the break-out hit "Only the Lonely." The song and album benefited greatly from the rise of a new cable television channel called MTV, which in its infancy was desperate for content and glommed on to the cinematic and contemporary "Lonely" music video, giving it a "radio-hit"-sized boost. Davis won the American Music Award for "Best Performance in a Music Video" for the clip.
The Motels' 1983 album Little Robbers followed a similar pattern, producing another MTV-assisted hit in "Suddenly Last Summer." In the aftermath, the band had more success, with high-profile appearances on various movie soundtracks, but Davis dissolved the group to go solo in 1987. Davis has reformed versions of The Motels off and on ever since, becoming a mainstay on the ’80s package-tour circuit.
Bow Wow Wow was legendary manager/clothing designer/musician/Punk pundit Malcolm McLaren's follow-up to The Sex Pistols, which he famously put together in the mid-’70s. Following the Pistols' break-up, he managed Adam Ant, early on essentially stealing members of Ant's band at the time to create Bow Wow Wow. Fronted by singer Annabella Lwin, BWW released some seminal Post Punk recordings (including debut single "C·30 C·60 C·90 Go!") before finding mainstream U.S. success in the early ’80s with the single and music video for their cover of "I Want Candy."
The new Millenium has seen a few different Bow Wow Wows embark on tours, including a version fronted by Lwin and another put together by original bassist Leigh Gorman and featuring Chloe Demetria on vocals. (The Gorman/Demetria Bow Wow Wow is the one on the Sirius XM-sponsored tour.)
Rounding out the Totally 80’s Live lineup for the Cincinnati tour stop (Ska band The Untouchables are also doing dates on the tour but aren't listed as part of the Bogart's show) is When In Rome II. As the "II" suggests, this is a variation of the Synth Pop group When In Rome, which had a rather enduring hit with their 1988 single, "The Promise."
WIR co-founders Michael Floreale and Clive Farrington both have their own When In Romes — the version coming to Bogart's is Michael Floreale's When In Rome II, which also includes John Ceravolo and Chris Willett.
Tickets for the February Bogart's concert go on sale this Friday, Oct. 25 at 10 a.m. via Live Nation.