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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 10, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 06
It was a 1980s dance party with the all-new Nu Shooz and Animotion!
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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It was a 1980s dance party with the all-new Nu Shooz and Animotion!

by MK Scott - SGN Contributing Writer

NU SHOOZ AND ANIMOTION
HISTORIC EVERETT THEATRE
February 4


While the 1990s was the era for Seattle music (Nirvana, Pearl Jam), it was Portland in the 1980s that was the birthplace of three incredible bands. I am talking about the legendary sound of Quarterflash (headed by Pat Benatar-like Rindy Ross), the percussion-heavy Dan Reed Network (headed by dreamy Dan Reed, with a Jon Bon Jovi-like smirk) and finally the Pop/R&B/Funk style of Nu Shooz (led by Valerie Day with husband, John Smith).

After a lengthy hiatus from the world of Pop/Funk and Soul (to raise a family and play other styles of music) Valerie and John have revived the original Nu Shooz sound. The husband and wife team are back on the road as part of the Super Freestyle Explosion Tour with their live eight-piece band, Shoo-Horns, and are playing shows for the first time in 25 years.

This past Saturday, Portland-based, Nu Shooz traveled north to Everett to open at the Historic Everett Theatre as the first half of a double-billed show along with '80s synth-pop sensation, Animotion.

The ageless Valerie Day, 57, looked and sounded fantastic as she entered the stage wearing a black and white shimmering jumpsuit.

Day opened the concert singing her 1986 hit (and my personal favorite) 'Point of No Return' and it was like I was transported back to the fall of 1986 and no time had passed.

If you go back and view the 'Return' video, you will notice Day is a cross between Belinda Carlisle and the quirkiness of Cyndi Lauper. According to Day, in my conversation with her after the show, the animation of hundreds of shoes following her in the video was done not by computer but the old fashioned way of camera stop-motion, one step at a time.

The Shooz also sang their 1987 hit 'Should I Say Yes?' as well as some new music from their new album, Bag Town.

That was followed by a classic cover of the Supremes hit, 'Someday,' before they closed with their biggest hit of all, 1985's 'I Can't Wait,' and the audience was invited to come and dance in front of the stage.

Then, after a 1980's costume contest was held, Animotion came out. You remember them, right?

Who could forget their 1985 hit, 'Obsession'? That video was epic with lead singers, Bill Wadhams and Astrid Plane dressed as Cleopatra and Marc Antony. Wadhams, who was known for his great jaw and model good looks, still looks great, but mature. Plane also looks and sounds great.

Wadhams then told the story of the making of the video for 1986's 'Let Him Go' when they created a large mouse wheel in the middle of the desert, from an old Ferris wheel. Astrid complained that the temp was 125 degrees when shooting.

After over a decade away, both Wadhams (now based in Portland) and Plane have been continuously performing since 2001 and joined other 1980s groups on tour that included The Motels, A Flock of Seagulls, Wang Chung and Berlin.

They have just released a new CD titled, Raise, and previewed several new songs including 'Bad Review.'

They then performed 'Obsession' to a dancing crowd in front of the stage.

For an encore, both Animotion and Nu Shooz joined together for a soulful cover of Soft Cell's 'Tainted Love,' Despite a small crowd, it was an honor to meet these icons after the show. We welcome back Nu Shooz and may we hear more from Animotion for years to come.

Get Nu Shooz's new album, Bag Town, and Animotion's new album, Raise - both available at Amazon.com and ITunes.

MK Scott is a Seattle-based Arts blogger, check out his blog at outviewonline.com.

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