Interview: The Legwarmers

'80s tribute band dusts off the decade's hits for enthusiastic fans

  • '80s tribute band the Legwarmers perform at Rams Head Live.
'80s tribute band the Legwarmers perform at Rams Head… (Eileen Colton, Handout…)
December 09, 2010

Let's face it, the '80s will never truly be gone. Like bedbugs, Cher and Spam, the decade will always be around in some repackaged form.

Just recently, the New Kids on the Block — yes, Donnie, Danny, Joey, Jordan and Jonathan — announced a reunion tour, which they'll perform with their '90s doppelgangers, the Backstreet Boys. Rick Springfield, '80s heartthrob and lover of Jesse's girl, released a new biography this year, "Late, Late at Night." And on stage at the Hippodrome last month? " Rock of Ages," an unlikely musical hit that celebrates big-hair '80s rock.

Given the endless stream of '80s nostalgia, it's no surprise that the Legwarmers have been together for a nothing-to-scoff-at eight years.

"It doesn't seem to be over yet — knock on wood," said 32-year-old Matt Kelly, one of the vocalists for the Washington-based cover band, which performs Saturday at Rams Head Live.

The band has exceeded its own expectations.

"It started out as a joke, and here we are eight years later," Kelly said.

Their original concept was just to cover hit after hit: Journey, Bon Jovi, Madonna. Others, like Def Leppard, AC/DC and Springfield, Kelly said, are also money in the bank.

On Saturday, they'll perform 40 songs — and "maybe an encore" — in a show that'll last three hours. He said they owe part of their own success to the good will the decade still has with people — not just those who lived through it, but their children.

"It's a decade that demands to be celebrated. It's so inherently over the top, so fun," he said.

Their shows are in keeping with the decade's excess. Kelly and the seven members of the band perform in vintage regalia, so much so that they look like "'80s superheros."

It's that frivolity, and people's response to it, that has kept them steadily employed.

"It's a very fun environment," he said. "People come dressed up in a lot of bright colors, tight pants and wigs, and everyone seems to have a drink in their hands."

The Legwarmers perform Saturday at Rams Head Live, 20 Market Place in Power Plant Live. Doors open at 8 p.m. 21 and older. Tickets are $15. Call 410-244-1131 or go to ramsheadlive.com.

—Erik Maza

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