by Michael Hanrahan
The third annual "Spirit of the 80's" - for all those who lived through and loved the music of the '80s - returns as a two-night event Friday and Saturday, Aug. 8 and 9, at Academy Park in Lewiston. Doors open both nights at 4 p.m.
The weekend music festival will kickoff Friday with a happy hour performance from 5 to 7 p.m. featuring The Strictly Hip.
Originally conceived in 1994, Strictly Hip has grown to become one of Western New York's biggest and most popular nightclub acts. The Strictly Hip show has evolved into a revue of music that brings back memories of the glory days of Toronto's 102.1-FM CFNY, with music from the Tragically Hip, Lowest of The Low, Our Lady Peace, The Trews, The Cure, Oasis, REM and much, much more.
Local favorite The Tower will close out Friday evening concert. The Tower is a band with a new rock/blues direction with a unique mix of music for a large variety of tastes.
Canadian punk pock legends The Forgotten Rebels, from Hamilton, Ontario, will headline Saturday, Aug. 9. In 1979, they released "In Love with the System," which solidified their position forever in the "Punk Rock Hall of Fame," as many tracks were instant college and party classics and still are to this day.
Singer, founding member and frontman extraordinaire Mickey De Sadist recalled, "The bands we most admired were, Bowie, T-Rex, Gary Glitter and the Sweet, but being new to musical instruments, the best we could pull off was a bad, out-of-key version. So we decided to write our own songs with less chords."
The Forgotten Rebels have toured with such bands as The Clash, The Ramones, Iggy Pop, the Cramps, Ian Hunter & Mick Ronson and many, many others.
Local '80s favorite The Mirrors and Buffalo-based alternative rock band Cowboys of Scotland also will perform.
The Mirrors are hometown favorites. Band members include Kirk Andrews, Mark Acker and Tim Tyran. The Mirrors started in December of 1983 and played 15 shows in 10 months before Andrews moved to Florida with his family in October of 1984. They did not play again together until 2012, when "The Spirit of the 80's" was born.
Cowboys of Scotland are an all-original rock band led by multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter Bud Redding. The group combines elements of punk, progressive, new-wave, funk, rock 'n' roll and an '80s-flavored sound layered over hard-hitting, socially conscious lyrics.
The Cowboys are regulars in the local music scene, and the band's members are veterans of such bands as Funk Monsters, Nullstadt, Vapor Voice and Green Jello. Their music has been described in various terms: new wave, punk-funk, gothic, tech-rock, progressive and indie-rock. One local music critic described their sound as "The Clash meets Pink Floyd," while others refer to their " '80s sound."
A barbecue chicken fundraiser will be held Saturday, Aug. 9, from 3-6 p.m. at Academy Park. The chicken barbecue will be catered by The Silo Restaurant. Tickets are $10 per dinner. Proceeds will benefit the Lewiston-Porter Alumni Association.
"Spirit of the '80's" tickets are $10 per person Friday and $20 per person Saturday. A two-day combo pack costs $25. Tickets are available at the door and at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/701276.