The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Men Without Hats @ The State Theatre — 11/29/12

Lou Dawson and Rachel Ashmore of Men Without Hats

What’s in a name? That which we call Men without Hats
By any other name would sound as sweet;
-New Wave Juliet

Men Without Hats today occasionally will wear hats. Half the quartet also are women. So are they Men and Women Maybe Without Hats?

The Men Without Hats who visited The State Theatre Thursday were a lineup recruited by lead singer Ivan Doroschuk and not the classic band. But does it matter? Ivan was the only consistent member throughout the years anyway and the new lineup sounded amazing with James Love on guitar and duo synthesizers played by Lou Dawson and Rachel Ashmore — a killer duo with impressive synth skills.

The band opened with “This War,” a song whose lyrics may remind us that “love is a battlefield” but it has a wonderfully driving electronic sound that could have sprung right from a basement club in 1979. The song hails from the new album, Love in the Age of War. Released in June, it’s a collection of 10 songs by the current lineup that serves as a mighty credit to the Men Without Hats catalog.

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Hot Ticket: Men Without Hats @ The State Theatre, 11/29/12

Photo courtesy of Epiclectic
My Hot, Fury Myth
courtesy of Epiclectic

We can dance if we want to
We can leave your friends behind
Cause your friends don’t dance
And if they don’t dance
Well they’re no friends of mine!

I have trouble telling you my favorite song on any given day, but I can absolutely list in perfect order my top 10 dance anthems of the 1980s. Clocking in at #3 is the eternally awesome “Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats, who broke out from Montreal in 1982 with their first album, Rhythm of Youth.

Before Men Without Hats broke up less than 10 years later, they hit the international charts a big way a second time with “Pop Goes the World.”

The classic lineup of the band consisted of three brothers and a drummer but singer and keyboardist Ivan Doroschuk reformed the band in 2010 with three new musicians, a la Terri Nunn and Berlin and similar reenergized bands. The new band has a new album, Love in the Age of War, which itself could have broke out in 1982. The Montreal new wavers come to the State Threatre in Falls Church, Va., tomorrow on Nov. 29, marking the first time to catch Doroschuk and company locally in quite a while!

They band has been touring with The Human League and the B-52s — and they once were set to join Martin Fry and ABC on one of those Regeneration Tours — but they haven’t made it to the DC area until now. Buy a ticket but bring your friends along! (Because they *will* dance…)

Los Angeles quartet Right the Stars serve as openers.

Men Without Hats
w/ Right the Stars
Thursday, Nov. 29
Doors 7pm; show 8:30pm
$19 advance/$23 door
The State Theatre