The B-52s Still Bring Out the Fun

November 8th, 2013

The B-52s – Brooklyn Bowl – November 7, 2013

My generation is often accused of carrying a fake sense of nostalgia for moments we never experienced, and it’s something from which I’ll admit to occasionally suffering. This faux nostalgia syndrome never hit me worse than it did when sitting in a bar in Athens, Ga., a small college town with an absurdly high awesome band per population ratio, wondering what it would be like to hear the B-52s in their hometown at one of their first performances ever, in an era before just about every person in the Western world could finish the line “If you see a faded sign at the side of the road that says 15 miles to the ____ _____!”

Seeing the B-52s last night at Brooklyn Bowl might be as close as I get to that experience, and given the absence of time-travel capabilities, it’s a perfectly acceptable alternative. The band still brings out the fun like no other. If their fiercely choreographed dance moves, their quirky call-and-response singing and all other evidence of the unabashed great time they’re having onstage doesn’t reach you standing in the audience, then you’d best check yourself for a pulse. It’s an absolute treat to see the origins of Fred Schneider’s signature singing voice, one you’ve heard a thousand times on the radio, at parties and everywhere in between, filling out the verses of “Private Idaho” live and in person.

Kate Pierson still pulls up her hair in her signature semi-beehive, and through all her booty shaking and back-up dancing, it’s amazing it holds its form. The band played through the classics, songs that may well outlive us all, including “Love Shack”  and “Roam” before closing with the greatest crustacean-themed song ever penned, “Rock Lobster.” It’s a happy coincidence that no other bands made serious attempts to replicate their sound, because no one could ever do it better. The B-52s are originals by definition and by default. See them live while you have the chance, and if a time machine does ever get invented, plug in the year 1977 and get your ass on down to Athens, Ga. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Andie Diemer |

(The B-52s also play the Capitol Theatre tomorrow night.)