With a “1-2-3-4” click in from drummer Debbi Peterson, the Bangles rocked the pants off City Winery last night in their first Nashville appearance since 1988, and the first of this two-show stand. The group recently released their first EP and a batch of early archive pieces as Ladies and Gentlemen… the Bangles. To match the spirit and energy of those recordings, they also scaled back to their original four-member line-up, forsaking washy keyboards in favor of wailing guitars.
The set — which started with their fierce take on Simon & Garfunkel’s “Hazy Shade of Winter” — kept a brisk pace the entire night. (A pepped-up “If She Knew What She Wants” was the closest thing to a ballad they offered… at least until the encore of “Eternal Flame.”) In between, though, Susanna Hoffs, Vicki Peterson, and Debbi Peterson (along with Derek Anderson on bass), didn’t let the energy and enthusiasm flag for a second. And, it must be said, Hoffs’ voice continues to ring out as one of the most special and splendid sounds in pop music.
Generally miscast and misrepresented as fluff pop, the Bangles are, in fact, pure garage pop — three-minute musical gems powered by bright, jangly guitars, snappy, driving drums, and the most glorious all-girl harmonies of pretty much any generation. No one has ever done what the Bangles do. And, 34 years after first forming, they still do it really, really well.
Set List
“Hazy Shade of Winter”
“Some Dreams Come True”
“Manic Monday”
“Anna Lee”
“Ball ‘n’ Chain”
“He’s Got a Secret”
“Getting Out of Hand”
“I’m in Line”
“The Real World”
“Mary Street”
“If She Knew What She Wants”
“Going Down to Liverpool”
“September Gurls”
“Want You”
“Open My Eyes”
“In Your Room”
“Hero Takes a Fall”
“Walk Like an Egyptian”
“Eternal Flame”