Friday, May 11, 2012

The Go-Go's-Rams Head Live 5/8/12 Baltimore

I was fortunate enough to win free tickets to the show. Figured it would be a nice chance to see some 80's icons and I like all kinds of music.I'm not completely familiar with their catalog but always appreciated their spunky energy and melodic charm.  Many think of the Go-s Go's as being a pure pop band but they started as a punk band and evolved from there. I hear the influence of surf music in aspects of their music like the guitar solo on "We Got the Beat". They were signed to IRS records, considered an eclectic and hip label ,that also had the likes of REM, Wall of Voodoo, Oingo Boingo, the English Beat and Let's Active on their roster. 

Around 8:15 the lights dimmed and Foreigner's "Hot Blooded" began blaring over the PA. The ladies of the Go-Go's silly-danced their way onto the stage.
After, dancing around for 30 seconds, the soundman cut the tune and the band launched into their 1982 hit "Vacation". Always a good idea to start a set with a hit!

The ladies looked fit and happy; a great accomplishment for women in their 50's who stared playing together in the late 70's!


Lead singer, Belinda Carlisle was in fine voice. She seems to have become more comfortable with her range over the years and performs with confidence while still oozing a warm sensuality. For us straight guys in the audience, each move and playful gesture she made was irresistible. Lol

Baltimore is drummer Gina Schock's hometown and she had family up in the upper balcony cheering her on as she relentlessly pounded the drums so essential to the Go-Go's pop/surf punk sound.

Rhythm guitarist Jane Wiedlin provided much of the harmony/backing vocals while slashing out chords on her Gibson SG ; hopping around with the enthusiasm of a teenager. 


Charlotte Chaffey always seemed the most reserved, content to concentrate on playing her guitar and ,on a few tunes, keyboard. Her guitar playing is the main melodic support to the vocals along with Kathy Valentine's catchy bass lines. 
Kathy's bass lines sometimes provide the main riff of songs like "Head Over Heels" (the evening's closer)

Belinda's successful solo career was not ignored and the band "Go-Go-ized" her catchy 1986 "Mad About You". 

Jane Wiedlin got a chance to shine sharing lead vocals with Belinda on the song that Jane originally performed with the group Sparks in 1983 "Cool Places"; a nice surprise..

Things got pretty crazy when the band invited audience members up on the stage to dance during their cover of the 60's hit "Cool Jerk". Some real lol moments...

Another cool surprise was brisk run through of the Rolling Stones "Mother's Little Helper". possibly a nod to drug problems now in the past?

Because of my unfamiliarity with some of the album cuts,  songs like "Lust to Love","Tonite" "Get Up and Go" didn't register melodically to me, but they had great energy.

Late in the set Belinda gave us the choice of "Unforgiven" from their last cd "God Bless the Go-Go's" or "Whole World's lost it's head" from the 90's collection "return to the Valley of the Go-Go's". Actually both tunes are two of their best; returns to an earlier punky-pop sound. Chances are many in the audience didn't know either, The girls went with "Unforgiven", which would have been a hit in 1984, and was in the same musical territory of some of the great songs the Ramones did.

The band really closed the regular set strong with a tri-fecta of songs from their debut that were blasting out of car stereos in 1981 "Our Lips Are Sealed", "Skidmarks on My heart" and "We Got the Beat"

For the encore, the girls announced that they wanted to do a couple of tunes they used to do at the beginning of their career. They performed a great cover of the Shangri-La's "Remember(Walking in the Sand") that began at the pace of the original before accelerating to a punk pace. Great stuff!(Aerosmith does a great version too!)

They closed the show with their excellent song "Head Over Heels". Built on a great bass riff from Kathy Valentine and Charlotte Caffey banging out the chords on the piano and featuring accented claps on the chorus, it was a great way to close the show.

The Rams Head Live venue is a great place to see a show. I'm please to report the crowd was well behaved (mostly older, so they should be!) No obnoxious people dancing on other people!
Love a "rude-free' concert

3.How Much More
4.Get Up And Go
5.Mad About You
(Belinda Carlisle song)
6.Lust To Love
7.Mother's Little Helper
(The Rolling Stones cover)
9.Fading Fast
10.Cool Jerk
(The Capitols cover)
11.Cool Places
(Sparks/Jane Wiedlin song)
12.This Town
14.Our Lips Are Sealed
15.Skidmarks On My Heart
16.We Got The Beat

17.(Remember) Walking In The Sand
(The Shangri-Las cover)
18.Fun With Ropes
19. Head Over Heels

Photos taken by me, T.E.N., videos from various Youtube users.

1 comment:

  1. Hey there,
    I'd love to talk to you about using one of these photos in a video documentary I'm making. My e-mail address is Looking forward to hearing from you!