Concert Review: The Pretty Babies at Lakeside Lounge, NYC, Halloween 2009
by Heather M. Raphael
Halloween is by far my favorite holiday. I don’t create wonderful and elaborate costumes myself, but I love to look at other peoples’ creative intoxications. I was not let down by the Pretty Babies (insurgent comedienne/chanteuse Tammy Faye Starlite’s latest project) as Blondie, presenting the Parallel Lines album at Lakeside Lounge in the East Village on Halloween night. We even had attendance by the current age Debbie Harry herself! Was it really her or just a fabulous costume? Unless she’s able to be in two places at once, the real Debbie Harry’s doppelganger had front row seats at our venue, while the real Blondie was playing Halifax, Nova Scotia.
My best laid plans for Halloween this year came crumbling down as the hours ticked away and my escape out of the city to a friend’s Halloween party was foiled by my love/hate relationship with technology. Luckily a singer/songwriter friend came to my rescue, inviting me into her plans where we met up with some friends at the Lakeside. It was empty and we scored a table right by the stage. That’s when I learned about Tammy Fay Starlite and Linda Wynn, aka Linda Pitmon, one of the great female drummers (and also one of the great drummers, end of story). We got to chat with Linda – very down-to-earth, instantly likeable – during set-up from our strategically placed table.
The Lakeside Lounge quickly packed in a crowd, some costumed, some not, as showtime was upon us. Tammy…I mean, Debbie…I mean Blondie…oh whatever, gave several shout-outs to Steve Wynn, well known musician since the 1980’s for alternative and classic rock, who was there to see his lovely wife rock the drums. And she kicked some butt up on that stage! Not even an uncooperative snare could slow her down. I’ve never been so mesmerized. But let’s not forget the rest of the band that pulled this show together. On bass was Sit n’ Spin’s Mony Falcone; on electric guitars were her bandmate Heidi Lieb and Jill Richmond of the Aquanettas; on keyboards was Bibi Farber; all dressed in black pants, white suit shirts and black skinny ties to boot.
The spot we had was perfect for viewing and listening. Although Tammy’s mic could have been balanced louder, it did fit with how I always remember Blondie songs – missing half of the Debbie Harry vocals, whenever she sang in her lower, alto range. At least it was authentic and a great ride down memory lane. I don’t how the acoustics were for those on the side and and back to the bar: I can’t imagine they could see anything and since the visual aspects were as important as the music, those back there may not have gotten as much out of it. Tammy Faye Starlite put on a fabulous performance, even getting up on a chair to reach out to her audience in back. From what I hear, she is a crowd-pleaser, and was no less of one this night.
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