The Celebrities @ Starland Ballroom 4/7/07
Early last week I got an e-mail from local NJ band Luzer's manager. He told me that Luzer unfortunately broke up, but many of the members of that once great pop-rock band had reformed as The Celebrities. They were doing their first live performance on Saturday at Starland Ballroom, opening up for Quiet Riot, and he invited me to be there. I honestly worried that the once fun pop-rock band Luzer had turned into hair metal band, not that hair metal doesn't have it's place (after all in the 80's I must have seen the videos for "cum on feel the noize" and "metal health" a million times), but other then for fun nostalgia's sake, it's really not my thing anymore. Still, I was curious enough that I agreed to come out to the show.
Never being able to find out what time the Celebrities were scheduled to go on, my wife and I arrived shortly after the doors opened at 7pm, and we waited, and waited, and waited. Finally at 8:30pm, when my wife and I were frankly getting fed up with being at Starland Ballroom (as nice a venue as it is, it's really not very comfortable to be standing around waiting for the bands to play), the first band came on. The band, named after a Guns 'N Roses song, with a lead singer who wore the requisite leather pants and Axl bandana, trudged through a terrible set of hair metal, which included bad karaoke covers of Poison's, "every rose has it's thorn", and, GNR's, "it's so easy". Thankfully, their set was only 30 painfully long minutes.
After that monstrosity I was even more concerned The Celebrities were going to be a bad hair metal band.
Then the moment of truth came.
The houselights dimmed, and the speakers suddenly blared the Who's, "won't get fooled again", as a slightly showy video presentation let us know who the Celebrities are. Then the video screen came up and the next 23 minutes were pure pop-rock fun. Forget that this was their debut show, the band was extremely tight, they had stage presence, and their harmony laden vocals were spot on. The only miss-step in their all too short set, was a cover of Kiss's, "Detroit Rock City", where they sounded like they were trying too hard to sound like Kiss and not making the song their own. The standout song in their set, that should be broadcasting from radios everywhere this summer is, "she's mine", an infectious pop-rock song that gives Fountains Of Wayne a run for the money on making perfect ear candy.
At the end of their set I only had 2 questions:
How the hell did they wind up opening for Quiet Riot? It seemed far from a perfect fit, although to the Celebrities credit, they seemed to win over the hair metal crowd.
Why didn't they play longer? Luckily their My Space page lists lots of shows coming up, and you can even download 4 songs there too (including the afore mentioned "she's mine". These guys would be perfect on a bill with other local pop-rockers like Readymade Breakup, Dipsomaniacs, and Status Green.
After that set my wife and I were in agreement that it could only go downhill, so we left Starland Ballroom briefly happy that we saw at least one good band tonight. Of course that happiness turned to anger when we found that the parking attendants did a lousy job lining cars up in the parking lot, leaving no room to pull out without rocking back and forth about a half dozen times. I preferred the rocking I was doing to the Celebrities set, thank you.