Review: ‘The Bangles’

It's easy to be cynical when bands reunite -- the only sound that animates many of them is the ring of a cash register. But at the House of Blues, the reformed Bangles were onto something different: If anything, they sound more like a band today then they did during the mid-1980s.

It’s easy to be cynical when bands reunite — the only sound that animates many of them is the ring of a cash register. But at the House of Blues, the reformed Bangles were onto something different: If anything, they sound more like a band today then they did during the mid-1980s.

Yes, time, maturity and so-so solo projects made them more likely to play nice in the sandbox, but their show was the work of a revived band; they haven’t named their upcoming Koch album (due in stores Sept. 23) “Doll Revolution” for nothing.

It’s not so much that they’ve changed — songs such as “Manic Monday” and “Walk Like an Egyptian” retain their sunny radiance, and the members still have a youthful appeal. More impressive is how the new material seamlessly updates their classic sound.

Vicki Peterson’s “Single by Choice” is a rangy declaration of independence and Debbie’s “Ride the Ride,” while not as explosive as the version on the album, still enthralls. They also smartly rearrange the older tunes, stripping down “If She Knew What She Wants” into a wary ballad.

The nearly 90-minute show was something of a round robin, with the spotlight rotating among the four singers; the band has become a stronger whole while giving each member a chance to shine.

Susannah Hoffs favors swelling pop confections; Vicki Peterson brings flinty, country-inflected pop to the mix; her sister Debbi comes to the fore on classic ’60s psychedelia; and Michael Steele is partial to rock struts.

The result felt like the performance of a band that still has life left in it.

The Bangles

House of Blues; 1,000 capacity; $35

Production

Presented by House of Blues Concerts. Reviewed Aug. 8, 2003.

Cast

Band: Susannah Hoffs, Debbi Peterson, Vicki Peterson, Michael Steele, Greg Hilfman.
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