November 7, 2016 The B-52s Bring Halloween Scream Show To The Space in Westbury, NY 10-28-16 w/ Mother Feather
Halloween season naturally brings out partygoers looking for a good time. With plenty of costume parties and live music events going around through the month of October, the partyers came out in numbers for the World’s Greatest Party Band, The B-52’s, for their recent Halloween Scream Tour. Originally forming the band in 1976, in their hometown of Athens, Georgia, they soon found themselves traveling to New York City to get their start in playing venues such as the world renowned CBGB’s. Gaining momentum and popularity, they released their self-titled debut album in 1979, and over the years the band had many successes including the release of Cosmic Thing in 1989, yielding their first ever Top 10 hits in the USA, “Love Shack” and “Roam.” During this time, the band played to sold-out audiences on a worldwide tour, which lasted more than eighteen months, including an Earth Day event in New York City’s Central Park, where they played to nearly 750,000 people, marking the height of their commercial success.
Since then, The B-52s have kept their brand going strong with founders Fred Schneider (vocals), Kate Pierson (vocals), Cindy Wilson (vocals, percussion), and non-touring member Keith Strickland (multi-instrumentalist). Touring year in and year out, Schneider, Pierson, and Wilson are joined by Greg Suran (guitar), Tracy Wormworth (bass), Sterling Campbell (drums), along with Ken Maiuri (keyboards), rocking audiences everywhere they go. With select shows in line for the Halloween Scream, on Friday, October 28th, The B52s visited Long Island, New York to host The Space at Westbury. Not the first time that the band has made an appearance at this venue, in fact they visit often, with the last time being earlier this year in February. Just a few days prior to Halloween, the evening had a mild winter chill in the air as people were entering the venue. Looking around in the lobby, it was evident that there were a lot of hardcore fans coming out to see their favorite band, because not only did many of them proudly display concert t-shirts from past year’s shows, but many of them were all decked out in costumes.
Starting the celebration off on the right foot was the high-energy, female fronted band Mother Feather. Based out of New York City, the band was formed in 2009 by Vocalist Ann Courtney and includes Keyboardist/Vocalist Elizabeth Carena, Bassist Matt Basile, Guitarist Chris Foley, and Drummer Gunnar Olsen. Releasing two independent recordings, in 2011 the Mother Feather EP and in 2013 the Living Breathing EP, since then, signed on with Metal Blade Records and released their self-titled debut album this past May.
Unique within themselves, Mother Feather came out on stage and tore right into the first song of the night, “Egyptology.” Courtney wore a wedding veil for this first song, but promptly removed it afterwards to show her pretty face. From here, they performed a suite of songs from their new album including “Mirror,” “747,” “Living, Breathing,” “Trampoline,” and “Natural Disaster.” Midway through the set, Courtney announced, “This song is brand new. This song is about how fucking awesome it is to open for The B-52’s!” and it was fittingly titled “Totally Awesome.” Before closing out their set with “Mother Feather,” Courtney encouraged the audience to scream along with her for The B52s and to “Let’s all scream for The Halloween Scream show!” and the nearly packed venue screamed along with her.
Quite an entertaining act, Courtney and Carena were both very interactive with each other and the audience. Overall, Mother Feather was energetic and fun while they rocked their music hard. Courtney has a smooth and welcoming voice, but she gets hard and heavy, giving her the power to scream out the lyrics with authority. That said, keep a watch for Mother Feather as they continue to make their way.
Filled to capacity on the floor and in the theater seating, the energy level was up high, and as soon as The B-52s hit the stage the party really got started. Coming out all dressed up for Halloween, the eccentric group of musicians had the crowd pumped from their first song, “Cosmic Thing.” Afterwards, Schneider welcomed the fans and said, “We just dressed up a little for you tonight,” to which the audience responded positively. While some fans began to blow air into big balloons and released them for the crowd to volley them about, others had bubble machines, shooting bubbles high over others. Quite a scene, the music moved along with the title-track off their 1982 EP, “Mesopotamia,” before they took the fans back to the beginning with “Lava.”
Moving on, they played “Is That You, Mo-Dean?” off of 1992’s Good Stuff, and then they jumped right into “Private Idaho,” from 1980’s Wild Planet. Before going any further, Pierson playfully asked Schneider, “Fred, I have to ask, did you get that dress from Dress Barn?” Schneider laughed and replied, “No, Dress Barn is too expensive, I got it at The Salvation Army!” Proving they are friends with tremendous onstage chemistry, Pierson, Schneider, and Wilson continued to banter with each other as the audience laughed along with them. Giving the two ladies in the band a chance to shine, Schneider quietly left the stage as Pierson and Wilson sang “Deadbeat Club,” “Roam,” and “52 Girls.” Following the later track, the stage went dark, leaving only the Halloween decorations lit. Soon, the sound of changing channels and static could be heard over the PA system. As the stage lights came back up Schneider walked out holding an old school TV antenna attempting to get a clear channel to come in, a perfect way to segue into “Channel Z.” Once the song was over, Schneider gave a warm “Thank you” to the fans and Wilson cheerfully shouted out, “This is a dance song!” going into “Dance This Mess Around,” which resulted in everyone on the floor and in the seats up and bouncing around.
Keeping the party going, they played 1980’s “Party Out Of Bounds,” where Schneider then toyed with the skeleton that hung from his microphone stand, waving its hand to the audience and speaking for it as he said, “Hey everybody, it’s great to be here in Westbury! Hope to see you here again next year.” With a burst of cheers, Schneider took a few moments to introduce the members of the band, resulting in more loud cheers after each introduction. Then, after the first few notes of the next song began to play, the fans’ cell phones were raised high in the air to catch a video. Of course it the was classic hit “Love Shack,” where not one person stood still. Schneider and Pierson took turns saying how appreciative they were while the audience cheered away. Waving and blowing kisses as they all left the stage, more screaming, cheering, and whistling came raining down. A very noisy scene, it was not before long The B-52s returned to the stage to close out with a three-song encore. All from their 1979 debut, they rattled out “Planet Claire” and “6060-842” before ever quirky “Rock Lobster.” During the finale, fans were all singing along while they were dancing and jumping, raising their arms in the air mimicking lobster claws with their hands. Once the song was over, Schneider, Pierson, and Wilson all took turns saying thank you one last time, wishing everyone a good night and safe trip home.
As always, The B-52s really know how to throw a party, and they also know how to pump the energy up high. Everyone in attendance clearly had a great time enjoying Schneider, Pierson, and Wilson’s awesome vocals as the three of them played so well off of each other’s actions creating such a fun environment. In addition, their live band was just as full of energy and they kept the party vibe going all night long. While Halloween season is over, they will continue to tour through December 2016, so be sure to go see them for a fun-filled night.