Show vs. Show

In this installment of Show vs. Show, we take a look at two bands both welcome at any party. It’s the battle of young and not-so-young as The B-52s bring out their campy tunes and CSS turn on their Brazilian beats for Dallas audiences.

Despite a healthy discography, we might always know The B-52s for “Love Shack,” but there are worse tunes on which to hang a legacy. Now a classic party anthem, the song has held up for more than 20 years.

The band’s talent shouldn’t be overlooked for its camp factor. When the late Ricky Wilson threw down that riff for “Rock Lobster,” he made music history with a strong sound. It’s easy to blow off, but over the years, has proven unforgettable. Guitarist Keith Strickland stepped in and filled those shoes with the perfect blend of musicality and whimsy.

Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson always keep our attention with their mod outfits and high-to-heaven ’dos, but Fred Schneider symbolizes the band most with his outrageous flair.

But don’t count out CSS for party ’peal. The Brazilian popsters may be the heirs apparent to The B-52s (if not LMFAO), infusing a comic touch on their songs. They don’t offer as much of a punchline as The Bs do, but with tunes like “Let’s Reggae All Night” and “City Grrrl,” they add their own panache. Another point in their corner is opening dance band and performance artists MEN, led by lesbian JD Samson.
This should be more like Party vs. Party. All that’s missing are the party favors, confetti and punch bowl.

— Rich Lopez

Artist: The B-52s

Concert-2

The B52's

 

Known mostly for… being the premiere party rock band veterans, churning out hits “Rock Lobster,” “Love Shack” and “Roam.”

Good for the gays? As gay as it can get. Their camp factor is off the charts.  And of course, there’s queer singer Fred Schneider.

What to wear? Anything but beige or gray. And lots of hairspray.

Relevance: The B-52s haven’t delivered big since 1989’s Cosmic Thing, but their songs are timeless fun.

Reason to be there: This is one resilient band that wholeheartedly still delivers. And how awesome is “Love Shack” going to sound live?

Reason to not: It’s in Frisco.

Deets: Dr. Pepper Arena, 2601 Avenue of the Stars, Frisco. Nov. 3
at 7:30 p.m. $27–$77. Ticketmaster.com.

Artist: CSS

Concert-1

CSS


Known mostly for… their Brazilian dance pop. Hipsters party out to this band
that wants nothing more than to have a good time.

Good for the gays? With openers MEN, both are queer-centric with refreshing
but catchy tunes.

What to wear? Ironic T-shirts and colorful Converse Chuck Taylors.

Relevance: Their latest album, La Liberacion, strikes an unusual dance chord that’s also infectious and irreverent.

Reason to be there: While CSS has a strong fan base, they are still off the gaydar. You can be the one to tell all your friends about them.

Reason to not: With this one-two punch of catchy alterna-pop, there really isn’t a reason not to be there.

Deets: With MEN. House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St. Oct. 28
at 8 p.m. $18–$20. HouseOfBlues.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 28, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Weekly Best Bets

Friday 02.11

She works hard for the money
How Kander and Ebb combined fashion, Communism, the Depression and relationships set to music in Lyric’s Flora the Red Menace is beyond us, but we’re curious. Kristin Dausch plays Flora, who juggles her career as an artist against the temptations of her new love Harry. All while trying to earn a buck. You go girl.

DEETS: Irving Arts Center, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd. Through Feb. 26. $18–$29. LyricStage.org.

Saturday 02.12

This Vanity project is worth it
Not to take away from their pop rock brand of music, but if there’s one reason to check out Vanity Theft, it’s because of the one-name bassist Lalaine. She’s says of the band, “We may have vaginas, but we’re not pussies.” Well, said. Now we hope that means they will kill it live, because their rock is pretty major.

DEETS: With Hunter Valentine. Sue Ellen’s, 3014 Throckmorton St. 9 p.m. Caven.com.

Thursday 02.17

Drums along the Winspear
TITAS brings in the famous Kodo drummers for a life-changing experience. The 24 drum masters take the instrument beyond its percussive musicality into a “heart-pounding, earth-shaking experience.” And it’s one night only — meaning don’t miss out.

DEETS: Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. Feb. 17. 8 p.m. $19–$75. ATTPAC.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 11, 2011.

—  John Wright

Off with her head!

You’d think Anna Bolena, Dallas Opera’s final entry in Donizetti’s Tudor Trilogy, would be as juicy as the story that inspired it: Infidelity, treason, politics, religion, even a beheading! But the only head missing is the one that kept sense how to make the production work as a stage piece.

Denyce Graves’ opening aria, with her distinctive mezzo power, sets a high bar for musicality of the show, which Oren Gradus as Henry VIII, Stephen Costello as Lord Percy and Hasmit Papian as Anne meet.

But aside from a homoerotic stag fight between two shirtless brutes, it drags. The elephantine scenery — a giant set of accordian doors that teeter dangerously during scene changes — and some stodgy, presentational acting (especially the false performance by Elena Belfiore in the “trouser role” as Smeton), rob the opera of its drama. Even a doomed queen deserves more life than this generates. (On the other hand, there’s still time to catch Don Giovanni, which is very much worth a look.)

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 5, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens