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’80s Reunion Show at Harlow’s Saturday

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Local bands from the ‘80s including The Features, Numonix, The Antics, Tattooed Love Dogs and Rhythm School are reuniting Saturday night, some after 20 years, at Harlow’s, 2708 J St.

Sporting pointy Beatle boots or Doc Martens, stretch jeans and black blazers, or cut-off T-shirts and mullets, these band members dominated the local music scene in the ‘80s, playing at shows together and at the same popular clubs at the time.

New wave was “a movement, that encompassed everything from power-rock, pop, punk-rock, reggae, ska and rockabilly,” said The Features bandleader Johnny Pride.

Fans dancing on stage with The Features at El Dorado Saloon nightclub

Pride is a singer/songwriter who was part of The Features in the ‘80s and later joined a band called Pride In Peril, which released three albums and played in the movie, “The Doors.”

The lineup for Saturday’s show starts at 7 p.m. with The Antics, then Rhythm School and Numonix. The Features are headlining the show and will play around 10 p.m., and Tattooed Love Dogs will continue the show until midnight.

Harry Price, event promoter and bandleader of Numonix, talked to Pride from The Features about putting on a reunion show with local ‘80s bands in the area after playing at a Press Club reunion last summer.

“Several people who owned and operated clubs back in the day are interested in getting aboard and sponsoring this,’’ Pride said about the idea of making the reunion a recurring event.

“We have so much fun doing this, it could become an annual event where a bunch of bands get back together that were friends during mid-late ‘80s and early ‘90s – and just do a great big show together,” Pride said.

This is not just a reunion concert for the band members, it is also a reunion for the fans who will get to come out and relive ‘80s memories along with the bands and reconnect with old friends.

“There’s people coming from Portland, Texas (and) Southern California. It’s going to be a pretty epic event,” said Robert Katen, who works for Dimple Records as the assistant to the CEO, and is friends with the members of The Features and Tattooed Love Dogs.

“It is important because there are a lot of people that lived in those times in Sacramento that are still around, and The Features and the Tattooed Love Dogs were a big part of our lives,” Katen said.

The Features, formed in 1982, released an album, produced by Scott Singer, called “Up Up Side Side” in 1984 that hit the No. 2 spot for Tower Records charts in California, said Pride.

“I’d start singing ‘up-up, side-side-side, foot-foot,’ and everybody started doing this ridiculous little dance. It was just great fun,” Pride said as he recalled the first time he invited the audience to dance up on stage with the band.

“We started doing the little dance too,’’ Pride said. “It just caught on, and you knew as soon as you heard ‘Swing right,’ just to bum-rush the stage and get up there and start dancing.”

’80s Reunion Bands

Sally Katen works for Sprint and said she is a fan of the Tattooed Love Dogs and The Features.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the reunion of The Features. I mean, some of them don’t live in California anymore, so it is a nice treat to have them back,” she said. “They weren’t your average bands. They had a great following.”

Pride was flown in from Atlanta, Ga. by myhometownbands.com. Music download cards for the website will be given away at the show Saturday.

The Tattooed Love Dogs formed in1988 and still play locally.

Rhythm School’s music style is inspired by reggae/ska, Price said.

Numonix started in 1983, and its music style is neither folk nor heavy metal, said Price. “It ventures a little punky once in a while, and it’s definitely electronic once in a while.”

The band opened for Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1984 or 1985 at a popular nightclub called Lord Beaverbrooks, said Price.

“None of these people have really gotten together in the last 20 years,” Price said about the reunion and added that it was way better than any high school reunion.

“Most of the players are almost 50 years old, or older, and they are still rocking like crazy,” Price said.

Marc Kallweit, who has done photography for Sublime and is also a band member of SexRat and Syncro, will play guitar with Numonix.

Jerry Pompei will lead sing for Numonix with Price. Pompei plays keyboards and harmonica, and was a vocalist for Tight Quarters and Secret Service in the ‘80s.

Vocalist Sethyne White will guest-appear on the show with Numonix. Price and White have played in other groups together and had a hit song called “Spiritual Zoo” that played in the ‘80s on Northern California radio.

Emcee Monty Solorio, will sing “Shout!” with the band. Solorio is part of Tattooed Love Dogs and used to play in “Black Slacks” a band that played ‘50s-style rockabilly music, Price said.

Chris La Mar is Numonix’s keyboard player and also plays bass. La Mar is currently part of the Led Zeppelin tribute band “Led Sac” and has opened for Willie Nelson, Jerry Reed, Toby Keith and others with the group called “Gunshy.”

Maurice Fitzmaurice, who works for NBC Universal is the other keyboardist for Numonix.

The members of the bands have known each other, have played with each other and even swapped band members between bands, Pride said.

The Features’ keyboardist, Curtis Hillier, was in Tattooed Love Dogs for a while and also joined Pride In Peril with Pride after The Features.

Guitarists Waylin Carpenter, Vinnie Pantaleoone and Curtis Blakenship joined The Features after leaving a local ‘80s band called Steel Breeze.

Romeo Void was a big new-wave band in the ‘80s out of San Francisco that had two hit singles. Deborah Iyall was the vocalist, and she will be joining The Features on Saturday for two songs.

Drummer and producer Mike Urbano is from the ‘80s group called Bourgois Tagg, but is more famous for being in the band Smash Mouth, will also make a guest appearance for the show.

“Everything tended to be faster and louder, but also really catchy and melodic,” Pride said about the music style of The Features. “We used to call it aggressive pop with a modern bop.”

Pride said he believes the companies that controlled rock radio in those days “were destroying the potential of music in America” by not giving original content a chance on the air.

“’No Rock ‘N’ Roll radio’ was an anthem for us,” Pride said. “It really is just a diatribe that railed against corporate rock and corporate radio.”

Numonix will play a song by Sly in the Family Stone called “Thank you for letting me be myself (again)” as a toast thanking the audience for showing up.

“If these people didn’t show up, we couldn’t be ourselves again,” Price said about reliving memories onstage through the reunion.

Tickets can be purchased here.

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