The B-52s - 40th Anniversary Tour
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, Berlin
901 Wharf St SW
Washington, DC, 20024
Doors 6:30 PM / Show 8:00 PM
This event is all ages
Watch & Listen
You don’t need to look too hard to see or hear the multi-dimensional influence of The B-52s…
For as loud as anthems like “Dance This Mess Around,” “Love Shack,” and “Rock Lobster” might resound, the group have quietly impacted alternative music, fashion, and culture over the course of four-plus decades. Selling over 20 million albums worldwide, the GRAMMY® Award-nominated quartet—Fred Schneider [vocals, toy piano], Kate Pierson [vocals, keyboards], Cindy Wilson [vocals, percussion], and Keith Strickland [guitar, drums, keys, programming]—ignited a legacy of innovation and inspiration that dates back to 1976.
John Lennon famously professed his fandom in Rolling Stone, and the Washington Post chronicled the moment writing, “Forty years ago ‘Rock Lobster’ launched the B-52s career – and revived John Lennon’s.” Meanwhile, Madonna, James Murphy, Michael Stipe, Dave Grohl, and many others espoused similar adoration throughout the years. Casting a wide net, Panic! At The Disco, Blood Orange, The Offspring, Pitbull, Roger Sanchez, and DJ Shadow sampled classics from the band’s discography. Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy, The Simpsons, and more offered up covers of their own, while Sugarland joined the legends for a rousing rendition of “Love Shack” at the CMT Awards. Known for intergalactic micro-dresses long before they became high fashion, Yahoo! dubbed Pierson, “The original Katy Perry,” while it certainly wouldn’t be a stretch to trace the “Beehive”—which Pierson and Wilson pioneered—to Nicki Minaj and other modern style icons. Countless music critics have lauded Schneider as having one of the most distinctive voices in rock.
A 2017 piece in Salon posited they, “may be the most subversive band America ever gave us,” and it couldn’t be more on the mark. Agreeing with millions of rabid concertgoers, Pitchfork claimed, “From the very beginning, the B-52s were an undeniably great live act,” before adding that, “summoning up a proto-Riot Grrrl intensity at least a decade ahead of its time, Wilson sings as though her life depends on it.” Rolling Stone summed up Pierson’s voice as “Transcendent,” likening it to “a glitter bomb of joy.”
So how did it all happen?
Rewind to their hometown of Athens, GA in October ’76. As the legend goes, a shared flaming volcano cocktail at the Hunan Chinese Restaurant set into motion the five B’s modest plan for playing music at a friend’s house party that week. Within a year, they began lighting up CBGB’s and other popular venues as they inched towards the forefront of the post-punk movement in America codified by 1979’s self-titled The B-52s produced by music industry icon Chris Blackwell who signed them to his Island Records label.
A whirlwind of midnight dancefloor-ready spunk, punk energy, and pops of vibrant color, the seminal debut yielded “Rock Lobster” and “52 Girls” as they wowed audiences nationwide. Not only did the record go gold, but it also placed at #152 on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” and #99 on VH1’s “Greatest Albums of All Time.”
The gold-selling Wild Planet arrived hot on its heels in 1980, boasting “Private Idaho,” “Give Me Back My Man,” and “Strobe Light,” to name a few. They teamed with Talking Heads David Byrne as producer for the cult favorite Mesopotamia EP in 1982 before 1983’sWhammy solidified the group as an omnipresent MTV fixture.
Following the recording of Bouncing Off the Satellites, co-founder, multi-instrumentalist, and Cindy’s big brother Ricky Wilson tragically passed from AIDS in 1985…only months after his last performance with the band in front of over 250,000 fans at the inaugural Rock In Rio. His spirit remained integral to those formative records, and he would also notably be the first member to come out. In a Pitchfork retrospective entitled “53 Miles West of Venus: The Enduringly Queer Legacy of The B-52s,” T. Cole Rachel wrote, “Eventually Wilson would be remembered as a kind of wily genius—a guitar player whose open-tuned style of playing would influence countless other musicians.”
In the aftermath of his death, many assumed they’d never regroup, but the surviving members bounced back bigger than ever after a much needed three-year pause…
With Keith brilliantly filling the void in with music composition and live show guitar duties, 1989’s watershed Cosmic Thing elevated the B-52s to another galaxy altogether. It moved 5 million-plus units and spawned a string of Top 10 smashes in the form of the GRAMMY®-nominated “Roam” and “Love Shack” and was a fitting tribute to Ricky. “Love Shack” also earned the MTV Moonman that year for “Best Group Video.” Their marathon tour in support of the record would be highlighted by an Earth Day gig at Central Park for over 750,000 fans. 1992’s Good Stuff then landed a 1992 GRAMMY® nomination in the category of “Best Alternative Music Album.”
After a 16-year hiatus, The B-52’s proved as bright, bold, and boundless as ever on 2008’s Funplex. Fitting comfortably among a truly iconic discography, it bowed at #11 on the Billboard Top 200. The renaissance continued in 2011 at the sold-out Classic Center in Athens, GA. Celebrating the 34th anniversary, fans dropped in from far and wide for what became a landmark gig chronicled on the live album and video release, With The Wild Crowd! Live in Athens, GA.
The momentum only ramped up when they roamed on tour alongside Tears for Fears, Blondie, Simple Minds, The English Beat, and The Psychedelic Furs in 2015 through 2017. The 21st century takeover showed no signs of slowing or stopping with appearances on Portlandia and RuPaul’s Drag Race. Upholding a tradition of social activism, they stand in staunch support of numerous initiatives and causes such as AIDS service, LGBTQ Rights, PETA, the Student Conservation Association, Planned Parenthood, and more.
That brings us to 2018.
Ringing in the 40th anniversary celebration in style, they co-headline a North American tour with Culture Club, taking over venues across the country. Even though he remains an active member, Keith continues to compose music at home, while Fred, Cindy, and Kate handle performance. Continuing the festivities, Da Capo Press will release the first-ever official history of the band. Meanwhile. The B-52s have joined forces with Executive Producer Fred Armisen and Director Craig Johnson [Skelton Twins, Wilson, Alex Strangelove] to develop an authorized documentary film of the group.
As they prepare a high-profile documentary and first official book, The B-52s undoubtedly stand poised to inspire and influence future generations.
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), the synth-pop duo from Wirral, England, pioneered their genre combining massive chart success with experimentation on albums such as "Organisation"(1980) "Architecture and Morality" (1981) and "Dazzle Ships" (1983). Hits such as ‘Enola Gay’, ‘So in Love’ and ‘If you Leave’ propelled them into the stratosphere. The latter of which was heavily featured in the John Hughes ’Pretty In Pink’ film. The band has sold over 15 million albums and 25 million singles.
OMD re-united in 2007 and have been playing sold out concerts worldwide to critical and fan acclaim ever since. Their recent studio albums ‘English Electric’ and ‘Punishment of Luxury’ show the band to be one of the few of their generation still able to create music that inspires. Their live show never fails to impress, full of hits and full of energy.
“Electronic music is our language”, Andy says. “It’s how we talk.”
The band will be celebrating their 40th anniversary with the release of a Singles collection and collectors box set that spans their truly remarkable career.
OMD live are Andy McCluskey, Paul Humphreys, Martin Cooper, Stuart Kershaw.
“New music is the lifeblood of anybody making music— it’s that creation, excitement, new babies [songs]! It inspires me and it inspires others,” declares Terri Nunn, the charismatic and enigmatic singer of L.A.’s iconic synth electro-pop pioneers, BERLIN.
BERLIN will forever be recognized as the American progenitor of electro-pop artistry with sensually appealing lyrics. Few bands emerging from the era of BERLIN have achieved as far-reaching and long-lasting an impact and, rarely, such a timeless array of musical grooves. The Los Angeles-based band made its first national impression with the provocative single "Sex (I'm A...)" from the platinum-selling debut EP Pleasure Victim in 1982. “The Metro” and “No More Words” were also chart toppers, but it was the unforgettable, intimate, and strikingly beautiful love song, “Take My Breath Away” that took the band to another level. The ballad’s defining role in the Tom Cruise film, Top Gun, helped solidify BERLIN’s everlasting place in American pop-culture. The song was a #1 international hit and received both the Golden Globe and Academy Award for “Best Original Song” in 1986.
The band released its seventh studio album, Animal, in 2013. Animal explored contemporary electronic dance music while remaining true to the groundbreaking sound and Nunn’s signature vocals that continue to define BERLIN. Animal was the result of Nunn’s re-ignited love affair with current electronic music, and the feeling that BERLIN could make a unique statement in the EDM [electronic dance music] milieu. “It’s still my favorite medium. I’ve loved it since I met John [Crawford, original Berlin bassist) in 1979, when he wanted to bring electronic music to America, because it wasn’t here yet,” she recalls. “What it’s morphing into is exciting me so much, I was motivated to look for songwriting partners to help us initial impression on the music world in 1982, with their seductive single, “Sex (I’m A…),” from the platinum- certified debut EP Pleasure Victim. BERLIN’s first full length LP, Love Life, hit in 1984 and was certified gold. In 1986, BERLIN topped the charts with the unforgettable, intimate and strikingly beautiful love song, “Take My Breath Away.” The ballad’s defining role in the Tom Cruise film Top Gun has also helped solidify BERLIN’s everlasting place in American pop-culture. Nunn’s ongoing influence earned her the #11 spot on VH1.com’s “100 Greatest Women in Rock,” while, as an actress, she played leading roles in films including Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold with Kim Basinger, and Thank God It’s Friday with Jeff Goldblum and Debra Winger.
Currently, Nunn is recording a brand new BERLIN studio album with her original BERLIN band members and co-writers, John Crawford (bass) and David Diamond (keyboards). The album is scheduled for release in mid 2019. The album is being produced by Australian producers Andy and Thom Mak. The album marks the first collaboration by Nunn, Crawford and Diamond since Love Life, the third BERLIN album, released in 1984.
Video was very important to early hits like "Sex (I'm A...)" and "The Metro"— has also taken on new meaning for BERLIN. “YouTube is the new MTV,” Nunn notes. “We used to spend so much money on mini movies, but now all you need is a good HD camera and a guy who knows some lighting. Online is where people go to see and hear music—it’s free and it’s easy and so wonderful.” Nunn’s honesty and infectious enthusiasm carries through every aspect of Animal, which she views as an entirely new chapter. “I always looked at music as passion. All we can do is appreciate that people’s passion is so strong for music... I feel it too, it’s part of my DNA, and I love what I grew up with. What I learn as I get older,” she concludes, “is that it’s not about money or ‘making it.’ Sure, they’re fun games, but it’s about connection, that’s where the real joy, passion and bliss comes from, and music is such a huge part of connecting people. It’s the way… to bliss.”
BERLIN’s discography has yielded twelve gold and platinum album awards. The band—founded by Nunn, bassist John Crawford, and keyboard player David Diamond—made its everlasting place in American pop-culture. Nunn’s ongoing influence earned her the #11 spot on VH1.com’s “100 Greatest Women in Rock,” while, as an actress, she played leading roles in films including Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold with Kim Basinger, and Thank God It’s Friday with Jeff Goldblum and Debra Winger. Along with comedienne, Wendy Liebman, Nunn also previously hosted the critically acclaimed radio show Unbound with Terri Nunn on 88.5 FM KCSN Los Angeles.
Despite her many creative outlets, music, BERLIN and touring remain Nunn’s first love. Nunn, a rabid music fan, was inspired by Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” and her discovery of the LA club scene, starting with the band, X. Looking back, she recalls her own early musical dreams. “I remember going to a Rolling Stones concert at the Rose Bowl, and I couldn’t believe they did 2 ½ hours of songs and I knew every single one! That’s a legacy, a body of work that has mattered to people. That’s what I aspired to,” she says. “Of course, no way am I close to that body of work, but I have a number of songs that people love that much, and they come to hear Berlin over and over. I’m so grateful for that.”