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BY JESSE SCOTT
FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Over the last two years, The Wavos have built up quite the following at the Otter House.
On any given Saturday, the place was jam-packed with neon-clad college kids and nostalgic 40-somethings grooving to everything from Depeche Mode to Michael Jackson.
Well, now the Otter House is gone. Rather than throw in the neon towel, the New York-bred trio is set to write a new chapter in the 'Burg. To kick things off, they want to eliminate leg warmers.
"If there's one '80s item I'd eliminate, it is definitely leg warmers," laughed vocalist and synthesizer player Gordon Smith. "In all seriousness, there is so much tackiness in '80s attire, as long as you are having fun wearing it, it is cool with us."
The Wavos are quintessentially '80s. The band makes "The Safety Dance" sound even more reckless and New Order sound even more hypnotic. Their sets pull from a growing catalog of over 100 original and cover songs.
You can't help but love the band's story, too.
Born in October 2008, The Wavos feature a trifecta (Smith, guitarist Joe Bace and drummer Tone Maul) of men who are (pretty much) normal by day, but they are '80s rock gods by night. For example, Smith quietly works full time for a software company in New York. In his spare time, Smith throws on a shiny white kilt and simply rocks it onstage.
"We live in New York, so it's hard to get my co-workers to come out to the shows," said Smith. "Everyone is busy or preoccupied, so they don't get to see that side of me."
If Smith could transform the band into one of The Wavos' icons, it would require a few more tablespoons of British flair and a sprinkle of dark, black sunglasses.
"I love Depeche Mode," said Smith. "Depending on who you ask, though, we all have our favorites from Duran Duran to Joe Jackson. But we aren't a tribute show, we really are an original band."
In addition to mastering '80s classics, The Wavos have built up a collection of original material. According to Smith, 25 percent of the band's show now consists of its own tunes.
In September, The Wavos released its second EP, fittingly titled "Second Wave." The record is loaded with synthesizers and deep harmonies--sounds that position The Wavos as sort of a living time machine. Listening to "Second Wave" will inspire you to lace up your high-top kicks with the neon shoestrings and hit the dance floor.
"Bring those dancing shoes," said Smith. "Prepare to have a fantastic time."
And a word to the wise--if you don't wear your best '80s attire to Saturday's show, you'll essentially be the kid at a costume party who isn't wearing a costume.
Jesse Scott is keeping his leg warmers on, thank you very much.
What: The Wavos Where: Colonial Tavern, 406 Lafayette Blvd., Fredericksburg When: Friday, Feb. 9, at 9 p.m. Cost: $5 Info: irishbrigadetavern .com; 540/373-1313