Blondie in Concert
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Club Nokia LA Live
Special guest: Nico Vega
Panic of Girls Tour 2011
Songs performed: “Union City Blue,” “Dreaming,” “Atomic,” “D Day,” “Call Me,” “Love Doesn’t Frighten Me,” “Maria,” “What I Heard,” “China Shoes,” “Wipe Off My Sweat,” “Horizontal Twist,” “Mother,” “Rapture,” “Fight For Your Right,” “One Way or Another,” “The Tide Is High,” “Sharp Dressed Man,” “Heart of Glass”
Comments: Looking every bit the rock star she is, Debbie Harry took the stage at Club Nokia dressed in a military-inspired coat and dress with red sunglasses. Sure, she and her bandmates look a bit older and grayer, but the music was as strong as ever.
This was my third time seeing the group since they got back together in the late 90’s. And from the show they put on, they seem to be reenergized with the new music and excited to be performing their classics live to their adoring fans. It was nice to see them in a smaller venue (2300 capacity) and to be so close to the stage too (We were about 10 feet from the stage).
As the set went on, Debbie took off more clothes until she had a mini-dress and leggings on. She is still a commanding stage presence in her 60’s. Chris Stein and Clem Burke round out the original lineup with help from Leigh Foxx (bass), Tommy Kessler (guitar) and Matt Katz-Bohen (keyboards).
“Panic of Girls” is the band’s 9th studio album. Released earlier this year in the UK, it was released in the US in September as an Amazon exclusive. The UK “Collector’s Pack” features 2 extra songs including the fun new song “Horizontal Twist.” Usually I get the new CD before the concert, but I was not able to get it beforehand this time.
I was amazed at how many people seemed to know the new songs. They were singing the lyrics to every song. It was a fun crowd, everyone from twenty’s to sixty’s. Lots of gay men in attendance… we just happened to be near a big group of them. They were trading stories about past concerts and why the UK release was better than the US one. Also met an interesting guy who had a piece of a towel thrown out by Debbie in a club appearance in 1975 in England.
The new songs were very well received by the crowd. I especially liked “Horizontal Twist” featuring the sexy chants provide by keyboardist Matt (who Debbie called the biggest pervert in Ireland) as well as the Spanish guitar-tinged “Wipe Off My Sweat.” No real surprises as far as the set list other than the cover songs by the Beastie Boys and ZZ Top.
For me, the 2 highlights were “Rapture” and “One Way or Another”. They sound as great today as when they came out originally. Everyone was rapping along with Debbie on “Rapture,” I’m sure it is quite a thrill for the band to hear that from the crowd. And “One Way” is just another catchy song that had the crowd dancing along, including some drunk guys who wanted to slam dance (really?).
Nico Vega proved to be a good choice for an opening act. The Los Angels trio featured Aja on vocals, Rich on guitar and Dan on drums. I was especially impressed with the lead singer, Aja. She is a force to be reckoned with and an intense performer. Their sound is hard-rock, alternative. Not something I would listen to on the regular, but I enjoyed their set. They were even meeting fans after their set at the concession stand.
Thanks to Blondie and the band for another great show. Till next time…
Spice69man is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including the Real Men Wear Kilts line. They make great gifts for Valentine’s Day and birthdays.