It's an '80s Thing

Hot and ultra-geeky, the Spazmatics have Sundays covered at Dragonfly.

May 29, 2003|Heidi Siegmund Cuda | Special to The Times

It's midnight at Dragonfly and the singer's wearing a neck brace and high-water pants. The guitarist has tape on his geeky glasses and teeth so bucked-out he could chew corn through a picket fence. The bass player's wearing a crash helmet and a SpongeBob backpack and the drummer's break dancing in lederhosen.

So why is the Hollywood nightclub packed with screaming babes and dudes so hot they look like Abercrombie & Fitch cover boys?

Because the Spazmatics are in the house. The '80s cover band is the hottest thing to hit Hollywood since Ace Ventura rolled up in a tweaked-out Monte Carlo. For two months, the Sunday night scene at Dragonfly -- one of Hollywood's classic-rock haunts -- has been building word of mouth.

And when something's this hot, word travels fast. In a town that prides itself on hipster chic, the Spazmatics trot on stage sporting New Balance tennies and so-snug perma-knit pants.

But the moment they begin their set, it's revenge of the nerds and then some. The Spazmatics go way beyond kitsch as they blaze into memorable early-'80s tunes by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Wham!, Billy Idol and Adam Ant.

By the time they're working the Depeche Mode medley, you just can't get enough.

Despite their chess-club attire, the Spazmatics rock. Here's the deal: The Spazmatics are one in a long line of uber-groups conceived of by the Wizard of Odds, a.k.a. Perfect World Entertainment manager Jamie Brown.

Brown ushered in the neo-disco era a decade ago as the singer of Boogie Knights, a '70s cover band that forever changed the club landscape by offering good times with bad wigs.

The savvy musician figured there's gold in them thar hills and has since launched the careers of such stellar musical comedy acts as Metal Shop, a howling rock troupe that's achieving legendary status at the Viper Room on Monday's "Camaro" night.

Along with a half-dozen disco cover bands, Perfect World's stable includes the rap crew Hey Whitey 5-0, and such funk acts as Dr. Funkenstein and the Atomic Doggs. Perfect World Entertainment offers serious quality control by putting musicians in each of its bands through a rigorous audition process, and the Spazmatics are as good as it gets.


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