True, Gene Loves Jezebel hails from the United Kingdom and hit a peak with moody songs in the Eighties, while wearing spackled-on makeup and plenty of shiny flair. But to label them a "goth" band, per se, would be kind of missing the point. Perhaps they wore black on the outside because black was how they felt inside. But the band, fronted by twin brothers Jay and Michael Aston, mostly left aside death-rock's tribal witchery in favor of a more glam, gypsy-ish art -- and artifice. Monster tunes like "The Sweetest Thing" and "Desire" somehow managed to sizzle as both power ballads and crotch-pumping dance jams, and still remain hits on the world's more shadowy dance floors.
Here's the annoying thing about Gene Loves Jezebel in 2009, though. Like so many groups with a past heyday, there are now two warring versions of the band on tour, each headed by a different Aston brother. Jay Aston's version boasts slightly more credibility for its inclusion of guitarist James Stevenson, who previously played for Gene Loves Jezebel in the mid-1980s. Luckily for South Florida fans, it's his version that plays Respectable Street Cafe this Friday.
Opening is Girls on Film, from Tallahassee, who seems to have been charged with opening for every retro goth-ish band who plays at Respectable Street. There's no problem with this though. The new wave-loving, almost-all-girl band is way too good for its hometown, channeling the musical ghost of Missing Persons with a bright, feminine bounce.
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Gene Loves Jezebel, with Girls on Film. Friday, February 27. Respectable Street Cafe, 518 Clematis Street, West Palm Beach. Show starts at 9 p.m., tickets cost $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Ages 18+ with ID. 561-832-9999; www.respectablestreet.com