Tara beat me to this one, but her post was a long time ago and you should see this if you haven’t. I saw the B-52s last night, first time for me, they were very wonderful, and they ended the show with “Rock Lobster” as of course they should, and the venue was smallish and the audience was throbbing and appreciative. And it reminded me of this loopy video I once saw of robots playing “Rock Lobster” and it suddenly became essential that I show it to you. For all I know it was Tara’s post that (originally, eventually) led to my hearing about it way back when.
The Bit-52s were the brainchild of a James Cochrane of Toronto, Canada, and hats off to him.
The concept of a mechanized B-52s cover band reminds me of something I was thinking during the show…. how can I say this…. are DEVO and the B-52s diametric opposites? The B-52s and DEVO started around the same time, achieved national success around the same time, they have in common an obsession with the conformist, gee-whiz 1950s and a bent for simple instrumentation—you can program random computer parts to play “Rock Lobster,” and I reckon the same is true of “Whip It.” But their world views ... have the B-52s ever commented negatively on the 1950s or conformist America in their music? They named themselves after a beehive hairdo and obviously they’re entirely camp, but their perspective is all “Let’s go to outer space and send the girl from Ipanema to Greenland! Roam if you want to!” It’s all danceable, lovable positivity. DEVO isn’t like that. They’re both great bands and they share some DNA but they’re just real different when you dig a little deeper.
Anyway, the Bit-52s are a-ight but the B-52s were better.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
The B-52’s doing the ‘Rock Lobster’ in Atlanta, 1978
What’s that on your head? B-52s perform ‘Wig’ on British kids TV, 1987