The Go-Go's have permanently packed the airwaves and minds of most Americans with beloved hits. Even if engrained subliminally through satellite radio programming and the soundtracks of movie montages, everyone knows a Go-Go's track.
If you dig past the kitsch of songs like "Vacation" and "We Got the Beat," there resides the beating heart of a crew of punks with a resume that boasts more credibility than the lion's share of the snarling anarchists that grace the pages of alt press these days. The Go-Go's became inadvertent feminist heroines through their success and uncompromising approach to presenting themselves as they were, opening up the door for group's like current hype darling such as the Dum Dum Girls and HAIM.
The (arguably) most successful all-female rock band ever made its way to South Florida's shores this weekend, performing a sold out show at the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek on Saturday night. The room was filled to the brim with screaming Go-Go's fans and the vibe was one of the warmest we've experienced at a show in ages.
The night was a concise celebration of the Go-Go's hits, void of opening acts or any other such pomp. Things kicked off right on time with the jungle drums of "Get Up and Go." The band looked great, but more remarkable was just how good everyone sounded. While it's common knowledge that the Go-Go's have always played their own instruments and written their own songs, we've seen many of the group's peers phone-in live performances in recent times. The Go-Go's performance was tight (please submit all "Our Lips Are Sealed" puns to the comment section), but more importantly, they appeared to be having a blast on stage.
Fan favorite, "Vacation," was the second song of the night and brought the audience to their feet for a riotous sing-a-long that didn't end until the final encore. Carlisle's voice was in fine form, recalling the punk edge and Ronnettes sheen that helped bring the band such success in the '80s. Throughout the night, the band interacted with the audience in a way that made the show feel unique and intimate. During "Cool Places," Wiedlin and Carlisle demonstrated a very '80s dance across the stage, swinging their arms like Donkey Kong and skipping like children. The band also selected audience members to dance on stage during "Cool Jerk," resulting in a melee of hilarious and awkward shimmying and shaking.
The set included all of the fan favorites and mega-hits off of 1981's ground-breaking Beauty and the Beat, rounded out by a few great covers. Drummer Gina Schock, who performed with a broken toe, hobbled out to the front of the stage to introduce the band's cover of the Rolling Stones' "Paint it Black." She included a funny anecdote about her experience getting into music by secretly listening to her brother's Stones albums. And the band ended the set properly by segueing "We Got the Beat" into Kiss' "Rock and Roll All Night."
The performance was an unexpectedly good time. To see a band that has endured more than its share of bullshit over the years enjoy each other's company and their time onstage was truly refreshing and a charming reminder of what made the Go-Go's great in the first place.