The 80’s Are Coming to TWC! Radical!
I started middle school in 1980, finished high school in 1986, and graduated from college in 1990. The 80’s marked almost the entirety of my adolescence, and as you might imagine, it was a turbulent time…particularly for my fashion and musical tastes. I can divide the 80’s roughly in half based on my attire and what I listened to on mixed tapes.
I started the 80’s in full-on prep mode. My friends and I all had copies of Lisa Birnbach’s prep primer, The Official Preppy Handbook (published in 1980, of course). Pink and green? I wore it. Top-Siders? YES..more than one pair! A Bermuda bag? Of course…with multiple covers to match my many belts and headache-inducing headbands. And SO many Fair Isle sweaters. I still have my copy of Birnbach’s book with my middle school signature (big and loopy) proudly in the front cover.
Somewhere in my early high school years, things changed, and thus began the look that I think many people associate with the 80’s. I started shopping at Contempo Casuals where I discovered the joys of neon, shoulder pads, giant sweatshirts, and anything that looked like paint had been spilled on it. And my hair was huge (thank you, Dippity Do).
In 1985, the release of Desperately Seeking Susan starring Madonna sealed the deal: My friends and I were all about ripping everything we owned and wearing random layers of slouchy clothing. The biggest fight my mom and I ever had was over a pair of ripped “boyfriend” jeans. People now can pay well over $200 for that look.
Much like my fashion choices, my musical taste wandered wildly during the 80’s. In 7th grade, I was listening to Billy Joel, Journey, John Denver, and Chicago on my 8 track player (OK, some were late 70’s throw backs). By the time 8th grade rolled around, my dad had gotten me a double cassette player with a turntable. It was the dawn of the mixed tape for me, and I got busy.
During high school, my closest friend and I would spend hours pouring over her dad’s classic record collection, selecting songs for mixed tapes that we’d make for our friends and for school pep rallies. We were the mixed tape girls. Classic rock anthem “Baba O’Riley (Teenage Wasteland)” was an early favorite, as was “Layla.” But we also threw in some Donna Summer, Bee Gees, and Village People from time to time just to scratch the disco itch. We thought we were very cool, and perhaps we were.
While my “bestie” stuck with classic rock throughout high school, I discovered INXS and Split ENZ and The Smiths and Echo and the Bunnymen and more one-hit wonders than you can shake a stick at. I couldn’t get enough of Billy Idol, and to prove it, at one point my hair was short and spiky. If you’d asked me then, I would have told you that my favorite band was the Psychedelic Furs. But I also managed to see a variety of live concerts at the Summit (the Rockets’ arena that is now a church): the Cars, the Police, Prince, Van Halen, and the Gap Band. I saw Def Leppard twice in high school, but that was at a much smaller (and dirtier) arena.
My musical tastes took another turn when I started college. While Prince remained my favorite artist during that time (and on into adulthood, if I’m being honest), I discovered Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead, REM, B-52s, 10,000 Maniacs, and U2…and lots of famous (and infamous) Austin bands and musicians.
As I write this, it feels like musically I’m writing about more than just 10 years. Some people poke fun at the 80’s, but really, which decade can boast a more diverse collection of music and musicians? Yacht rock, light rock, folk rock, classic rock, hard rock, punk rock, alternative rock…the 80’s had it all. And I loved it all.
Which is why I’m excited about TWC’s upcoming Spazmatics concert. Dubbed the “ultimate new wave 80’s show,” I realize that they can’t possibly play all the bands I loved during the 80’s, but judging by their play lists, they’re going to nail several of them. So if you love the 80’s as much as I do, or even half as much as I do, I hope you’ll join me at TWC on Friday, November 12, 2021, at 7:00 because you’re going to hear the best and nerdiest versions of Billy Idol, a-ha, Rick Springfield, Duran Duran, Soft Cell, INXS, Depeche Mode, Madonna, and so very many more. YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THIS. And will I be wearing my very best 80’s attire? You bet. Radical!
To get tickets, here you go: /events/80-s-Night--Spazmatics-Concert.