The Spin knew that Nashville Cream's '80s night at the Mercy Lounge was going to go one of two ways--either the bands were going to play sincere, earnest covers or just get silly drunk and cheese it up with power ballad after power ballad. Mondays are school nights, but we were definitely in the mood for the latter.
Plex Plex was the first group up, and kicked things off by heading straight down the sincere, earnest road, playing Sinead O'Connor's "Troy," and Chris & Cosey's "October Love Song." Bows & Arrows also decided to go the earnest route. "Just Like Honey" and "Here Comes Your Man" were nice, but a sloppy "Burning Down the House"/"Come on Eileen" medley was a bit uncomfortable.
The awesomely named Eliza the Arrow featuring Thundersnake decided to do this night up right: They were all gussied like liquored-up rock 'n' rollers, and pulled out the first genuine cheer from the crowd with "Separate Ways" by Journey. Clearly we were not the only ones in the mood for stupid fun.
The night started to go really right with Chris Crofton and the Alcohol Stuntband: We were told that we were finally going to have our "faces melted off" and the cheerful nonchalance of the onstage beer swilling perfectly accented the raucous, coked-out 1-2-3 punch of metal that featured yes, Van Halen and yes, Motley Crue. Finally, we got ourselves an '80s night.
The Non-Commissioned Officers managed to draw the crowd from the bar and put on a pitch-perfect "Time After Time" with Mama Lehning on vocals. It's becoming more and more of a pleasure to see this band play out, and the version of "Don't Come Around Here No More" they pulled off solidified that opinion.
It's no secret that How I Became the Bomb's Jon Burr is a charismatic frontman, but this night belonged to the band's rhythm section, who totally nailed "In the Air Tonight." Much of the crowd dispersed after the Bomb, but there were some kids making out at the bar who definitely stayed to see the Protomen. This was another band that took the theme very seriously, with costumes ranging from a coked-out Don Johnson to a coked-out '80s metalhead. Their Eddie Rabbit and Judas Priest covers were nice, but we couldn't help but wipe away a tear (of laughter) when the disco ball lit up during the climax of "Total Eclipse of the Heart." Well played.
The disco ball should have been the climax, but no--the night was brought to a close by Heypenny and assorted friends. The crowd had thinned even more by this point, possibly because everyone appeared to be onstage for a gross/sincere rendition of "We Are the World." The line between earnestness and mockery was at long last blurred. The beer probably had something to do with it.