Bandmates tonight at Sue’s

You indie go, girls

Local duo Bandmates noted that they are playing a last minute gig tonight. With hippie flair and tunes that border on whimsy punk-folk, singer Kimberly Castrellon will win you over with her adorable allure while partner in life and music, Susan Carson will funk you up with her bass. You may have seen Carson last on the big stage with Jane Doe at House of Blues this past summer, but now she gets to chill with her latest band — and her girl.

DEETS: Sue Ellen’s, 3014 Throckmorton St. 8 p.m.

—  Rich Lopez

REVIEW: Uh Huh Her Wednesday at House of Blues’ Cambridge Room

Wednesday night, Uh Huh Her rolled back into town as part of the Keep A Breast tour. They are back on the road through October as part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Now if only they had been aware of their sound a little more.

First, let me confess that I did not stay for the entire show. That  was due in part to Uh Huh Her’s underwhelming stage presence and sound. The band attracted a healthy crowd of young ladies screaming “I Love You” to the band. But otherwise, even the audience felt a bit tepid. A long, droning intro  that felt rather indulgent played before they took the stage. When they entered from the side of the stage, they appropriately rocked out with heavy guitar play, but it wasn’t close to the synth-pop sounds of their albums. The band was strong in musicianship, but it wasn’t the sound I expected and wasn’t sure what they were going for. Are they hard rockers now?

Even as such, Leisha Hailey and Camila Grey didn’t offer a charismatic presence. Hailey looked tired and Grey never seemed into the seven songs I stayed for. Other than their first hit, “Not a Love Song” (which I caught a snippet of on the video after the jump), all other  songs just played out. There was simply no emotional punch from the band in the first part of their show.

Since I only saw the first chunk of the show,  maybe the ladies were having an off night. I mean, they have been through a lot lately. But the show was more Nuh Huh Her, if anything.

For a slideshow of the concert, click here.

—  Rich Lopez

Uh Huh Her at House of Blues

Photos by Rich Lopez

—  Rich Lopez

Uh Huh Her tonight at Cambridge Room

L Word 2.0.

Who couldn’t love Leisha Hailey as Alice on The L Word? Adorable, smart, tenacious. Don’t expect any of that tonight as she and Camila Grey hit the stage as Uh Huh Her. The House of Blues and Keep A Breast Foundation have teamed up for this breast cancer awareness tour with UHH as the headliners. The band also tours in support of its just-released second album Nocturnes. So this isn’t just a concert, it’s a win-win for everyone with new music and raising awareness for National Breast Cancer Prevention Month.

DEETS: With Jarrod Gorbel. Cambridge Room (at House of Blues), 2200 N. Lamar St. Oct. 28 at 8 p.m. $20.

—  Rich Lopez

OMD singer talks fame in America, middle age and being back on the road

With O.M.D. back in full swing, singer Andy McCluskey just wants to maintain his dignity

Paul Humphreys, left, and Andy McCluskey, return to Dallas after a triumphant stop at the Granada earlier this year.

With a handful of hits in the ’80s, British pop band Orchestral Manouevres in the Dark, or simply OMD, charmed with wispy romantic tunes such as “Dreamin’,” “So in Love” and “Tesla Girls.” Then the John Hughes penned-film Pretty in Pink hit theaters featuring “If You Leave” which put OMD on the map and into A-list territory. By the end of the decade, they dissipated and it’s taken them two decades to get back on the proverbial horse.

“The overall idea of us making another go was that we were alive and kicking and relevant,” singer and co-founder Andy McCluskey says. “It was down to a simple criteria: were we motivated to write music like the way we’re used to expressing or were we motivated because we’re a sad bunch of middle-aged men. We hoped we’re the former and not the latter.”

McCluskey keeps a sharp sense of humor about his sort of comeback position as well as a lackadaisical approach to being on the road. The band quietly released its latest album History of Modern last year and followed up quickly with a tour. But both have received critical acclaim and while the band may not be breaking Gaga records, the veteran band is if figuring out what to do with its resurgence.

That is if there is anything to do with it. When they blew up with “Leave,” the band fell into a trap.  The hit added pressure to their next release as well as practically bankrupting the band paying off people helping them get to the top. With that sudden rush of fame, the band imploded.

More after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Choose between O.M.D at HOB or k.d. Lang at the Meyerson

Decisions, decisions

Whether you’re in the mood for swoony torch songs or synth-pop from the ’80s, tonight is your night. k.d. Lang stops in town with her new band the Siss Boom Bang in support of her latest album Sing it Loud. She’ll likely have you as putty in her hands once her mouth hits the microphone. Or for some flat-out fun pop that will take you back a few decades, hit up Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (or O.M.D.) tonight. The band hit it big with “If You Leave” and “Dreamin'” back in the ’80s and then kinda faded away. But last year, they dropped History of Modern and tour and have been getting raves ever since.

If only you could be in two places at once.

DEETS: k.d. Lang and the Siss Boom Bang, Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St. at 8 p.m. $40–$100.

O.M.D., House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St. at 8 p.m. $25–$45.

—  Rich Lopez

WATCH: CSS’ new video ‘Hit Me Like a Rock’

Today, Pitchfork premiered CSS’ newest video “Hit Me Like a Rock,” wherein the band teaches you how to dance. And I know some people who could use this.

This is perfect timing as the band is about to embark on tour again, this time with fellow queer musicians MEN. They were here back in April with Sleigh Bells at the Granada. Now, they come back to House of Blues Oct. 28. Select dates from their tour will feature local drag queens. I wonder if we’ll get to see any of our own on the HOB stage that night.

In the meantime, check out the band’s fun new vid below. You might learn a few moves, too.

—  Rich Lopez

REVIEW: Erasure at House of Blues on Sunday


Synth pop legends Erasure put on a healthy show to a sold-out crowd at House of Blues Sunday night with a handful of new songs from their upcoming album, Tomorrow’s World. Flanked by gargoyles and simulated stained glass, Erasure was in fine form as they churned out the hits, but perhaps the star-making turn of the night was by opener Frankmusik.

Erasure frontman Andy Bell still maintains an eccentric stage presence and he’d often strike a pose to the cheers of the audience. His backless vest tied with string was kinda hot over his fit frame and he maintained danceable energy through the setlist. Of course, Vince Clark does his quiet thing hiding behind a massive gargoyle keyboard/desk for his laptop but would occasionally pop out to play the guitar or cut Bell out of his vest to change into a bedazzled Michael Jackson T-shirt.

At times, though, the songs were way too loud and as pleasant as their pop is, the bass and Bell’s voice were simultaneously pounding and screeching. Of course, being doped up on allergy/cold medicine might have affected my perspective, but even Bell himself kept adjusting his levels. When he sang “Love to Hate You,” his vocal runs were rather painful. Through most of the concert, we stood up close, however, as we muddled through the thick crowd toward the back, the sound was much better from afar. Or at least, less throbbing.

The duo never strayed far from the original sounds of their songs, which was refreshing. I hate when veteran artists feel the need to alter their biggest hits to suit them and keep them fresh. Erasure was true to their music and as each classic opened, the audience cheered deafeningly. The band nary missed a hit and new songs fit in like a glove.

The audience, though, was a surprising one. I expected it to look like a Saturday night at Station 4, but instead, the crowd was much more straight than I would have imagined. Baby boomers and twentysomethings seemed to outnumber the gays, but it was still a friendly environment as same-sex couples freely expressed their emotion to each other. And not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Other than Bell’s glorious grandstanding at times, Erasure was reliably good. But Frankmusik, who also produced Tomorrow, killed his 30-plus minute set. The 25 year-old in his rockabilly drag took over the stage as if he was the headliner. More famous as a DJ and producer, he shone with strong vocals and an abundance of energy during his short set of dance music. Some of his mashups were laughable as his song would move into tunes like “Easy Lover” and “You Can Call Me Al.” But he has catchy tunes and his energy was far more amped up than Bell’s. Songs like “No I.D.” and “Ludicrous” show his youth, but his live delivery is something to be witnessed.

—  Rich Lopez

Silver foxes

Over a quarter-century, Erasure has grown from pop wunderkinds to senior statesmen

A LOTTA RESPECT º Andy Bell, left, and Vince Clarke of Erasure have earned their places as music legends and queer icons, but look forward with a refreshed sound and tour that hits Dallas on Sunday.

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer


With Frankmusik.
House of Blues, 2301 Flora St. Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. $39–$65.
Sold out.


There is an almost jaw-dropping effect to the idea that it has been 25 years since the world first heard of Erasure. Andy Bell’s distinctly boyish voice was theatrical with the heartbreak and optimism of youth. Vince Clarke joined Bell as a veteran of Yaz and Depeche Mode, but with Erasure came a sense of ebullience those bands never possessed. Bell and Clarke might be pop music’s most perfect marriage.

As music icons, they have actually relinquished control of their upcoming album, Tomorrow’s World, which drops in October. Interestingly, soon after the group marks its 25th year with its 14th studio album, its producer, Frankmusik, will celebrate his 26th birthday.

“It turns out his mum was a huge fan of ours,” Bell laughs.

Being a contemporary of your producer’s parents is the least of Erasure’s concerns. Bringing Frankmusik on board is both a blur and a blessing to Bell. As a producer, he has worked with everyone from Lady Gaga to Erasure contemporaries Pet Shop Boys, and brings a freshness to Tomorrow’s World that hasn’t been heard in the last decade. Still, the sound is distinctly them.

“Nobody knows quite how it happened, but we had this instinctive feeling about him,” Bell says. “He was championed by our more fanatical fans and they made a really good choice. I don’t know how those straight boys can do it but he’s embraced that synth genre and loves that metrosexual culture.”

When Frankmusik was asked if he was intimidated by working on this album, his appreciation of Erasure is fully relayed.

“No, no. It felt like my calling, it really did. I felt like I needed to make that album — for me and for them,” he told QSyndicate earlier this month.

Both acts are on the road touring together, as if Erasure is somehow passing the pop torch. No need to call this a farewell tour, though: Bell doesn’t feel like they are going away anytime soon.

“You don’t take it for granted at all,” he says. “We’re almost halfway through the American tour, but we are looking forward to the end of this tour, but at the same time we’re loving it. It’s been great fun. It’s a lovely thing to have a great job.”

Erasure has released many gems over the years that have also become signature hits. “Oh L’Amour,” “A Little Respect” and “Chains of Love” are just a sampling of their mark on the industry. But among that huge foundation of songs are some Bell wishes had become bigger hits.

“Sure, you get disappointed when certain ones aren’t played on the radio, but you can’t have that all the time,” he says. “I loved ‘You Surround Me’ and ‘Rock Me Gently’ a lot. Unless we feel strongly about something, then the label chooses. At some point, we have to realize its true worth.”

Erasure comes to the House of Blues Sept. 25 to an already-sold-out venue. Clearly they have not lost their drawing power. Bell says Dallas has always been good to the band despite some of the not-so-approving denizens Texas is sometimes known for.

“We love playing there because we’re have this really great fan base in Dallas and it’s continued over the years,” he says. “I do get fed up with these ‘pray away the gay’ folks who wage warfare on young people. Those closet cases always have their hidden agendas and just take it out on other people.”

After 25 years, it would appear Bell still retains his sass, only now it’s more like a guided missile.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

The Go-Go’s tonight at HOB

They (still) got the beat

Call it nostalgia, call it fun, but all of it’s good. With their iconic infectious ’80s tunes, The Go-Go’s are back (although they said they never went away) and are celebrating the 30th anniversary of their album Beauty and the Beat. That alone is hard to beleive, but they come to town and for a little chunk of tonight, they’ll take the audience on a little “Vacation.” Lesbi-centric rockers Girl in a Coma from San Antonio open the show.

Check out our interview with guitarist Jane Wiedlin here.

DEETS: House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St. Aug. 26 at 9 p.m. $40–$75.

—  Rich Lopez