Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Off Broadway-On

Three years ago I wrote about these guys and I figured enough time has passed that I should update and maybe educate a couple more folks that maybe didn't drop by back then about this great power pop band. If you grew up in the Chicago area, then you've heard of these guys and have probably even seen them perform. Off Broadway was a late-'70s power pop group from Chicago. This band was similar to Cheap Trick with their hopped-up melodies and catchy hooks, but with a little more quirky, almost new wave sort of bent to it. But they were doomed to obscurity because they did not have the personality or the hardness that Cheap Trick did. Opening for heavy metal acts didn't do much for their careers either, putting two different genres of music together is risky at best and metalheads are not particularly fond of powerpop, thus a lot of people never got the chance to hear them. They wrote catchy songs and managed to sell around 200,000 copies of their 1979 debut album, On. They may never have reached the big time but they are remembered quite fondly by power pop enthusiasts such as myself. I saw these guys back in 1981, I think they opened for Nazareth. They had a good set and the music was great, but unfortunately their set was eclipsed by Nazareth. The band slogged it out until 1983 and finally called it quits. I think the many comparisons to Cheap Trick literally killed them.

Four members of the original band got together in the late '90s as Black on Blond and began playing clubs in the Chicago area. Due to audience requests, they began adding Off Broadway material to their set and soon decided to become Off Broadway again. In 1997, the band recorded and released their first record in 17 years, Fallin' In, and followed it with a live set in 1998, Live at Fitzgeralds. I still like these guys and I consider their first album a classic, must have album. In fact if you can find either of their first two albums, you might be pleasantly surprised. Finally I have to say that their first album On has to be one of the most criminally overlooked albums in rock history. 10 great power pop songs dealing with issues that young people really face and catchy as hell. Billing themselves as Off Broadway USA they're still kickin' around the Chicago area playing gigs to their still loyal fans.

Bad Indication
Full Moon Turn My Head Around
Stay in Time
Buy It

Funny Toon