Say what you will about the Eighties – the decade certainly produced its fair share of characters.
The Red Hook Brewery in Woodinville, WA, celebrated its 30th anniversary on Saturday, September 17, 2011, and it did so with some style… and a little help from the Eighties. The 30th Anniversary Party took place across the brewery’s parking lots and green spaces, and despite the rain’s untimely return to Washington State the crowds packed the brewery grounds from early in the afternoon.
In part this was due to the brewery’s excellent reputation (and the opportunity to taste their exclusive 30th Anniversary Ale), but the turnout was also helped by the lineup they’d managed to put together. Where else could you see Devo, the Psychedelic Furs and Tom Tom Club back-to-back?
The sun was still shining – just – when Tom Tom Club took to the stage, and while some of their songs have aged better than others, they still managed to pull together an impressively buoyant set. The gathered crowd greeted ‘Wordy Rappinghood’ with a little more enthusiasm than it probably deserved, but when they closed with a cover-of-sorts of Talking Heads’ ‘Burning Down The House’ (two members of Tom Tom Club are, after all, also ex-Heads) they added a little heat to the autumn evening.
The true excitement started with the Psychedelic Furs taking to the stage, however – and so did the rain. Richard Butler is still as animated and charismatic now as he was back in the Eighties, and the Furs’ live show would put a lot of modern indie rock kids to shame. Their songs have lasted well too, and while some fans were undoubtedly disappointed by the scarcity of tracks from Talk Talk Talk the Psychedelic Furs barely hit a bum note throughout the set. The obvious highlight, ‘Pretty In Pink’, may have been squandered mid-set – but the Furs still sound as energized and thrilling as they ever have.
That just left Devo to close the night out in style, and unfortunately the weather almost got the better of them. The rain was sheeting down across the brewery grounds by the time Devo took to the outdoor stage, and the crowd had done its best to sheathe itself in jackets, umbrellas, and even plastic bags. With a band as big as Devo coming on stage, no one wanted to move an inch – rain or not.
Devo rewarded this devotion too, playing a set filled with hits old and new, as well as more than their fair share of costume changes and on-stage antics. Once again the old classics were greeted warmly by the fans, but the newer tracks stood up well too, at times almost eclipsing their original material. They may have been standing in puddles of rainwater as the night came to a close, but fortunately it was only the music that proved to be electrifying.
The Eighties may be dead and buried by now, but the three bands at Red Hook’s 30th Anniversary proved that there was more to the decade than just neon socks and Rick Astley singles. And that’s a blessing that even the rain couldn’t dampen.