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A Flock of Seagulls, Trees, Dallas, Texas, Sunday, October 26th, 2014 Reviewed

Flock You

Flock You

It’s a strange reality, but hairstyles matter in popular music. The obvious pop culture reference starting point for the importance of hair in music is The Beatles, their shaggy mop tops influenced males to wear longer hairstyles in the U.S. for decades. Long hair was de rigueur for heavy metal acts, while Robert Smith of the Cure looked like he would topple over any second from his stacked high and wide coif. No band has ever receive more attention for a silly haircut than A Flock of Seagulls, with Mike Score’s hair combed downward over his face, requiring the poor fellow to “lift the drawbridge” to sip a Diet Coke. It’s a hairstyle that got the band attention, not all of it positive.

 

However, thirty-two years after scoring their first pop hit in the United States, and they only hit the Top 40 three times, Mike Score is still touring with a new set of musicians as A Flock of Seagulls and still drawing enthusiastic crowds. Before we get to the review, allow me to carp a bit. This was the dreaded “Sunday night” gig. You know, where old people with jobs have to stay up until a ridiculous hour for the pleasure of seeing a nostalgia act. The club Trees, an institution in the Deep Ellum section in Dallas, did a bit of the bait and wait, advertising that the doors would open at 7:00 and that the show would begin at 8:00 with no opener listed. Doors opened at 7:30. At 9:00, a Hall and Oates tribute band wearing sailor outfits performed. A Flock of Seagulls hit the stage slightly after 10:20. I know that clubs want to run up the bar tabs, but I won’t feel highly encouraged to see another Sunday night show there.

 

OK, the actual gig. Mike Score has a very solid band these days. Drummer Michael Brahm is a theatrical, hard hitting, kit punisher with a personality not unlike Animal from the Muppets. The bass player, whose stage name is Pando, won the sartorial splendor award, dressed like Duran Duran during their New Romantic phase. Guitarist Joe Rodriguez mainly emphasized the melodic nature of the songs, but did crank out some Pete Townshend power chords on “Man Made” and abused the whammy bar a bit on “Telecommunication.” No longer having any hair, Score was simply dressed in an oversized grey shirt and jeans. He looks a bit like a paunchy Mr. Clean these days. While the Seagulls are one of the definitive ‘80s synth pop bands, Mike Score’s playing didn’t dominate the music, it was integrated into the band’s performance. Score plays the synth for both the large hooks and atmospheric sounds. He even strapped on a guitar on a few songs, performing Punk Rock 101 chords on “She Won’t Let You Down.”

 

The Seagulls played for approximately an hour, an appropriate length of time giving their dearth of pop hit material.   Score is a fine pop songwriter, not a great one and none of the material dragged, even though his voice is a bit flat. When it came to the trio of hits at the end of the set, the crowd in front sang every line with “Space Age Love Song” and “Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)” building to the triumphant “I Ran (So Far Away.” Two things to appreciate about the performance of “I Ran” – first, Score sang it like a man that appreciated every penny that the song has put into his pocket, and two, he played it straight with no extended “Now, everyone in a red shirt please sing along” milking. It was an enjoyable set, not because I harbor any particular nostalgia for A Flock of Seagulls, but because it was simply a good show on its own merits.

 

Grade – B+

 

Setlist:

Modern Love is Automatic

Hearts on Fire

Rainfall

The More You Love, The More You Love

Naked

She Won’t Let Me Down

Telecommunication

Space Age Love Song

Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)

I Ran (So Far Away)

 

Encore:

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