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HEY BABY! AWESOME LEGWARMERS!

Last week in this space, we discussed Americans' tendency to serve up their nostalgia trips in 20-year cycles, and how disco has come and gone twice already. Do the math (yeah, I know--math is hard!), and the numbers will tell you that here in the Aughts, it's the '80s' day in the rehash sun. Better yet, look at the current synth-punk revival and reunion tours by bands like the Pixies, Mission of Burma and The Cure (OK, so they never really broke up, but merely threatened to)--which are selling out bigger venues these days than the groups even played the first time around--and you'll realize that the '80s are bigger now than they were in the '80s.

This week brings a show that features a trio of bands whose heyday came during that once-maligned decade.

England's Psychedelic Furs began in 1977, at the height of the punk era, though their eponymous debut wasn't released until 1980, which seems rather appropriate in retrospect. While there were punk elements in the band's music--the Johnny Rotten-esque sneer of singer Richard Butler's voice, which rivals only Tom Waits in the raspy croak department--the Furs didn't rock quite as hard as the punk bands of the day and emphasized melody over attitude. Each of the group's first four albums--the debut, Talk Talk Talk, Forever Now and Mirror Moves--are stone classics, even if the band never really got huge on these shores. Still, the John Hughes movie named after their song "Pretty in Pink" did much to up their profile, and they scored a few minor MTV hits along the way, such as "Love My Way," "The Ghost in You" and "Heartbreak Beat." But go back and give a listen to those first four albums, and you'll discover loads of songs that rival, if not surpass, those near-hits; they've aged remarkably well.

The other two bands on the bill fall into the '80s tradition of synth-pop bands of dude-musicians fronted by chick-singers. Those of us who didn't yet have MTV on our cable systems in the mid-'80s had to settle for WTBS' Night Tracks, a late-night show that ran current music videos geared toward us, the MTV-less. Ubiquitous on that program was the video for Berlin's "Metro" (who can forget Teri Nunn looking all forlorn, pining for her lost love on the titular train?). Prior to that, though, the group announced its arrival with the provocative and sexy (at least to us who had just entered our teens) "Sex (I'm a ...)," in which Nunn proudly announced that she was a "slut" and a "one-night stand." (Tough to say how we would have reacted if we'd grown pubes by then.) Their biggest hit, though, came once they lamed out and got soft: "Take My Breath Away" helped push the Top Gun soundtrack onto the charts and would provide MTV reality show Barbie-doll brainiac Jessica Simpson with a hit nearly 20 years later.

Fronted by the just-this-side-of-annoying, hiccupping chirpy-voiced Dale Bozzio--she of the massive pink hair--Missing Persons scored a trio of cult hits with "Walking in L.A.," "Words" and "Destination Unknown," before being relegated to Band That Time Forgot status.

Relive your youth at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 13, at Casino Del Sol's Anselmo Valencia Amphitheatre, 5655 W. Valencia Road. Advance tickets are available for $35 (reserved seating) and $15 (lawn) at all Ticketmaster locations, online at ticketmaster.com or by phone at 321-1000. For more information, call 883-1700 or visit avaconcerts.com.


WILL JANET AND RAUL SHAKE THEIR GROOVE THANGS?

From a press release, courtesy of the folks at Club Congress: "The Clean Elections process gives everyday citizens the opportunity to run for the Legislature or statewide office by collecting a specified number of $5 contributions. They don't need to be wealthy, or to sell their vote to big-money special interests. After qualifying, their campaigns are funded by the Citizens Clean Elections Commission. When elected, they are free to vote in the public interest, not according to the special interests. The only obligation for Clean Elections officeholders is to the people who voted for them.

"Now, big money special interests are paying for a constitutional amendment to effectively repeal Arizona's clean elections law. These are the same lobbyists, developers, banks and insurance companies who have dominated Arizona's public policy agenda for decades, giving large sums of money to their handpicked candidates who have enacted laws and tax breaks benefiting the special interests, not the public interest."

Proposition 106, appearing on ballots at a polling place near you come Nov. 2, puts the future of the issue in the hands of the people. In an effort to raise awareness, Congo hosts Clean Election Night this week. The event will feature 10 musical acts on two stages, as well as some high-profile speakers, including Gov. Janet Napolitano, Congressman Raul Grijalva and Congressman Ed Pastor, all lobbying for your "no" vote on the proposition. As for the music, expect to hear Mankind, L.A.'s Gliss, Kevin Pakulis, Mitzi Cowell, A:Chim, Caliche Con Carne, Ted Warmbrand and Salvador Duran, among others.

Doors for the 21-and-older event open at 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 13, and admission will be $5. Club Congress is located at 311 E. Congress St. For further details, call 622-8848.


DIALS IN THE HEAT

Hot on the heels of an appearance at this weekend's embarrassment of riches that is Little Steven's Underground Garage Festival in New York, Montreal's The High Dials will somehow make their way to entertain the inhabitants of our humble little burg just three days later. Touring in support of their brand new EP, Fields in Glass (Rainbow Quartz), the band plunders the golden era of '60s Brit-pop, taking cues from lysergic-era Beatles and The Kinks, and does it with as much aplomb as anyone out there today. The songs are rich with texture and harmonies, and are gloriously pastoral to boot. Oh, and hooks. Did we mention the hooks? They're present here in spades. If the CD is any indication, this is going to be one hell of a show, absolutely perfect for a balmy summer night. Or even a hellishly uncomfortable monsoon one. Don't miss it.

The High Dials perform as headliners on a multi-band bill Tuesday, Aug. 17 at Flash Gallery, 310 E. Congress St. Things should kick off sometime around 9 p.m.


SNOTTY TENTACLES?

Harking back to a time when punk rock was snotty, loud, abrasive and dangerous, Oakland's Fleshies return to town this week in support of The Sicilian, their second album for Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles label. They'll be at the Surly Wench Pub, 424 N. Fourth Ave., Saturday, Aug. 14. Opening the show at 9 p.m. is San Pedro's Toys That Kill. For more information, call 882-0009 or log onto the club's fancy new Web site at urlywenchpub.com.

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