In the spirit of utmost honesty, we were the most excited for [lastfm]Modern English[/lastfm]‘s performance; we grew up memorizing the words to Valley Girl, listening to British New Wave, and hoping that one day we would have a pale, melancholy British rock star to call our very own. At Jack’s 5th Show, Modern English satisfied our expectations of childhood nostalgia, but they also showed us that while they are still very English, they never stopped being modern.
How many Jack staffers does it take to make a cup of coffee? While this seemingly has nothing to do with Modern English, it does. Oh, it does.
A few of us were at the backstage food tent pondering how to work the fancy coffee machine because it took pods of coffee wrapped in plastic and aluminum foil. Of course, none of us could figure it out (or read directions) and all of us were caffeine-starved and frustrated. In walks the “Silver Fox.” We have seen one before in the wild, but never this close up. With a gentlemanly grin and a few absurd jokes about the universe, Silver Fox showed us how to make our coffee and melted our hearts at the same time.
Afterwards, girls were gushing over the older British hottie with the warm personality who just happened to be the lead singer of Modern English, [lastfm]Robbie Grey[/lastfm].
Sitting on the edge of the side-stage, we got a clear view of an attractive group of men wearing posh suits, t-shirts, and slick Nikes. They were the epitome of cool, calm, and proper. You could tell they had done stylish pop for more years than [lastfm]Miley Cyrus[/lastfm] was a twinkle in her dad’s eye. Until they picked up their instruments.
Modern English–who had been our teenage brooding music of choice–ripped off their suit jackets and played with an upbeat, sunshine-y manner that could only be the product of adulthood enlightenment, chicks in bikinis, and the sweltering California afternoon. They played songs like “Someone’s Calling,” “After The Snow,” “Tables Turning,” and “Ink and Paper” with consummate smiles, bouncy dance moves, and overwhelming enthusiasm. A post-punk, New Wave band…bouncing? Then our Silver Fox, Robbie Grey, invited the whole audience to take off their clothes and frolic in the sunshine with a few supportive exclamations of “it’s ok” to get naked. It was all too much for us. Too much awesome.
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Of course, Modern English got the chicks flaunting their pilates bodies in more ways than advocating nudity; they made all the women squirm with delight when they played “Melt With You.” We bet some of these women actually lived in Tarzana when Valley Girl came out.
And that was the most brilliant part of their happy-go-lucky, musically-tight performance: 27 years after Valley Girl came out and Modern English became famous, the band was playing to a group of women that were once the Valley girls the cinematic world showcased and the world began to covet. All enjoying the perfect California weather. Audience and band had obviously all seen the difference and realized that it’s getting better all the time.