Back in 1988, when South by Southwest was still in its infancy, the confab’s organizers invited English band Flock of Seagulls to play a showcase. By all accounts, the gig was a distaster. The band members proved to be unprofessional egomaniacs who showed up late and made outrageous demands. To make matters worse, they sounded like Flock of Seagulls!
FOS are a classic example of the way early ’80s bands could ride conical hairdos and bubble-headed ennui to the top of the charts, and convince themselves that they were great artists rather than fly-by-night novelties. From the other side of the Atlantic, America’s Missing Persons similarly tried to give their schlock an artsy shine, but even their connections with Frank Zappa couldn’t win them much respect.
Tommy Tutone (above) doesn’t really fit with this crowd. A Cheeto-headed, unpretentious goofball with zero sex appeal, he stumbled into one great hook with “867-5309/Jenny,” stirring a national epidemic of prank calls and delivering a defining anthem of the early-’80s Stalker Pop Era (which also gave us “Private Eyes,” “Sunglasses at Night,” “Voyeur,” “Somebody’s Watching Me,” and “Every Breath You Take”). He’d be more aptly called Tommy One-tune. 6pm Fri, Nov 7, $31 (advance); $33 (day of show), Sunset Station (Lonestar Pavilion), 1174 E. Commerce, (210) 222-9481, sunset-station.com