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A Family of Spicolis Sees in A Flock of Seagulls

  02/28/12 10:39, by , Categories: BFMN Exclusive, Bands, Review, Carox , Tags: a flock of seagulls, i ran _so far away_, mike score, new wave, regeneration tour, spicolis, the police, top of the pops
Carox from Houston, TX

Photos and Review by Carox

It was too good to miss: a New Wave Band with its origins in Liverpool, England, complete with original vocalist/ keyboardist, coming to Cullen’s Upscale American Grille. Cullens, in the heart of Houston’s space city, Clear Lake, is a great place to go for food, after-work socials, music and just purely innocent, crazy dance fun. Manager and staff are super-professional and personal, so it is almost like being on vacation for a few hours.

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The supporting act to open this night was a local 80s party tribute band The Spicolis, featuring band members Mike Spicoli on guitar, Dave Spicoli on bass, Sally Spicoli nailing the vocals, Mario Spicoli on keys and Jesse Spicoli on drums. Some of my favorite songs included: 99 Balloons, I Love Rock ‘n Roll, and Jump.  Sally is a strutting spitfire that could easily front any band and they would be lucky to have her.

Then A Flock of Seagulls walked confidently on stage.

In the U.K. during the late 70s, Punk was declared dead and the new revolution among the kids was to don a large, baggy pair of flowing pants and wait desperately for your hair to grow long enough to be dyed blond coiffed over one ear. The wealthy kids had access to cable; the rest of us got to watch “Top of The Pops” on Thursday nights.

Mike Score of A Flock of Seagulls

In a pre-Internet, vinyl age, this was the chance to see live acts unless you were old enough to go to a club and well-off enough to afford a ticket. It was often the first time you ever got to see a band perform live, and the next day would be spent imitating whatever they looked like. Flowing pants, frilly shirts, eyeliners and make-up were all de jour; asexuality ruled. Tight leather pants, zips, and torn logo T-shirts were burnt at the stake unless you were metal; then you could get away with spandex and make it trendy.

A Flock of Seagulls was formed in 1976. (The band name comes from a line in the song Toiler on the Sea by The Stranglers, which appears on their album Black and White.)

From 1979 to 1986, A Flock of Seagulls was right in the middle of the New Wave/New Romantic music movement. Mike Score actually knew Boy George before he was Boy George, if that tells you anything. The original line-up brothers was Michael “Mike” Score (keyboards, vocals) and Alister “Ali” James Score (drums), with Frank Maudsley (bass) and Paul Reynolds (guitar).

Pando from A Flock of Seagulls

Along with Duran Duran, The Producers and Jack Mack & The Heart Attack, A Flock of Seagulls performed at the 1982 second New Year’s Eve Rock & Roll Ball on MTV in Los Angeles, California in the heart of the MTV explosion. The new generation of stars, captured on video  in the U.S., was a phenomenon that helped launch many new international acts. Fans could actually see their favorite bands perform live while sitting at home. 1982 was also the year A Flock of Seagulls won a British Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental. This band went on tour with The Police in 1983 and I was proud to tell Mike I had seen Sting perform in Houston last year.

Today, Mike Score tours with his Roland synthesizer and band members Joe Rodríguez on lead guitar, Pando (complete with new romantic hair) on bass guitar, and the camera-friendly drummer, beaming Michael Brahm.

Mike is self-taught in synthesizer technology. He says he uses a sampler, of course, but that is about it. Electronic percussion, electric melodies and some very familiar and famous songs worldwide got everyone dancing to the compulsive brainwashing neo-rhythm of their sound. This band enjoys performing; it is written all over their faces.

Michael Brahm of A Flock of Seagulls

The set list included old and newer songs: Modern Love is Automatic, Hearts on Fire, Rainfall, Naked, Man Made, Space AgeLove Song, Telecommunications, Wishing (I had a photograph of you) I Ran (So Far Away) - Encore - Messages, Traveller.

The song I had come to hear, from my “must hear live” list was, of course, the one most folk know verbatim: I Ran (So Far Away). To understand the novelty of this song and the impact of the video at that time, I would suggest you look it up on YouTube complete in its foil-clad glory.

In my champagne VIP moment with the band, I learned that not only has Mike just produced a solo album but many of the songs are being re-engineered. The interesting and neat part about his music is that it has come full circle, as it always has been and still is ahead of its time.

Probably the best resource for discography and news of a band that shies away from social networking is the fan club site. Do watch for news of their Summer venture, the ’80s-themed Regeneration Tour, expected to be kicking off in August 2012 in the U.S. along with other 80s bands of note.

A Flock of Seagulls in Houston

 

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