View the full 37-photo slideshow of A Flock of Seagulls at Grand Central here.
A Flock of Seagulls
Friday, May 11, 2012
Better Than: A real '80s dance party, because we've got smart phones.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was 1982. The iconic '80s synthpop band A Flock of Seagulls was hitting their stride and shocking families across America with their made-for-MTV aesthetic. And, you know, that hair.
On Friday night at Grand Central, Miami traveled back in time to that magical era of goofy dancing, crazy outfits, and asymmetrical dos. Some were recapturing their youth, some were trying to transpose it. But everyone, for a little while, was equalized by the dance floor.
When we got there, Erotic Exotic was on stage dropping mad classic '80s jams, from New Order to Depeche Mode and everything in between. The place was pretty packed with '80s kids of all ages, swinging their arms around and singing lyrics into each other's faces.
There was an intermission between bands from midnight to 1 a.m., and while people drank, smoked and waited, they danced to more '80s classics from Miami's DJ Essential6.
After an hour of steady rockin', the music hushed, the crowd wailed and the band ascended the stage. The foursome stood before an array of lights, which simulated a perfect blue sky filled with seagulls and a cutesy cartoon of the lead singer circa MTV days.
They ripped into the first song, "Modern Love Is Automatic," from their debut EP. The crowd danced around under the blue lights and got their robot on.
"It's 1982 again," cried the guitar player between hits, surely pleased to see the dance floor so full.
"We've got a few songs for you tonight, some old and some new," said singer Mike Score, before going into the next song full of jangly guitar backed by sexy synth chords and an ever-driving drum beat.
A Flock of Seagulls is still really tight after all these years, and Score's voice has held up nicely through the maddest party decade ever experienced. Of course, not everything can be the same.
"I hope you guys like my new Seagulls hairdo," Score said between songs as he rubbed his bald-shaven dome. Everyone cheered to show they didn't mind.
They worked through the back catalogue, working into darker sounds toward the middle. It was a good night for dancing by yourself with your eyes closed, using way more elbow and wrist than a dancer really should. And for some reason, a lot of people in the crowd had itchy noses.
For a little while, Score left the keys and picked up a guitar. Whatever he's playing, he seems to disappear into deep concentration, playing with his eyes closed most of the time, flanked by his less subtle guitar players.
"Where are our lemon shots?" asked one of those guitarists between songs. Obviously, he was trying to get fucked up like this is 1980. We can't be sure if he ever got them.
The Flock went into hit "Space Age Love Song" and reinvigorated the crowd a bit. They played a couple more songs before simply playing a few ghostly chords. And somehow, the entire crowd knew exactly what was up.
"This one is from 1982," Score said. "It's simply called, 'I Ran.'"
The crowd went nuts and the space above their heads filled with camera phones. Score called out for everyone to sing along to the famous chorus and everyone turned to their friends who sang along with them.
When the song was over, they called out good night and walked off the stage. But the crowd wanted more. They chanted for one more song and they didn't have to wait too long for an encore. The band played a couple more tracks from their debut EP before heading off, for real this time.
"And that's it for you, guys," Score yelled. "Thank you and good night."
Personal Bias: Why were so many people wearing black? Weren't the '80s about neon? I didn't realize A Flock of Seagulls was such a goth band.
The Crowd: A good mix of Generation X-ers who actually remember dressing this way and their young, made-in-the-'80s hipster counterparts.
Best Hair: Nix the bartender. It was Flock of Seagulls to a T.
Flock of Seagulls' Setlist:
-"Modern Love is Automatic"
-"Hearts on Fire"
-"The More You Live, The More You Love"
-"Space Age Love Song"
-"Wishing (If I Had A Photograph of You)"