CBGB, the departed New York petri dish of punk rock, is coming back to life on January 13 at Grand Central. Compared to the smelly hovel CBGB was in its heyday, GC is Radio City Music Hall. Legend has it that the Bowery bar had piss-smelling winos kicking it in the club until club owner Hilly Kristal opened up his stage to a new breed of rock 'n' roll miscreants. The Ramones, Talking Heads, and Blondie got down at CBGB on a regular basis; punk rock, art rock, and new wave had a home.
The folks at Grand Central have done a fine job of gathering bands that capture the spirit of that era. If only Miami rockers Heartstrings were still around, they would've been the perfect substitute for the Ramones. We've thought about the lineup and paired them with the perfect song by their CBGB counterpart, to get you in the mood -- and hopefully, they'll take heed and cover our suggestions.
Axe and the Oak - Television's "Marquee Moon"
The delicated vocals of Axe and the Oak's frontman, Sander Willig, combined with the band's clean and clear precision lends itself perfectly to this Television song. They just have to remove the four or five guitar solos and just focus on the sneaky hooks and foggy lyrics.
Radioboxer - Blondie's "Hanging on the Telephone"
Blondie's cover of the Nerves classic can be worked perfectly by Hialeah's Radioboxer. Besides the obvious gender-based reasons, Radioboxer's silvery guitar tones live deep inside this song.
Space Between Words - Talking Heads' "New Feeling"
Space Between Words has Talking Heads' playful singing and tight drumming down already. With this song and its space between chords, they'll burn the house down.
Lil Daggers - Suicide's "Ghost Rider"
On their latest album and live shows, Lil Daggers have focused on mood and vibe much more than song and structure. When they're in the zone, they can really spin a crowd into a dizzy. Suicide's organ-heavy experiment would sit well between Daggers originals.
To Be Hated - New York Dolls' "Jet Boy"
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As the show's only punk band, they gotta cover the Dolls. We doubt any of them would dress in drag, but they already have a lady in the group. Their lead guitarist/lady, Brick already has Johnny Thunders' wild leads coursing through her veins.
GC Salutes CBGB. With Axe and the Oak, Lil Daggers, To Be Hated, Radioboxer, and Space Between Words. 11 p.m. Friday, January 13, at Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Tickets cost $5, or $10 for those 18 to 21. Click here.