The Smithereens & the Motels Evoke the New Wave Era at the Kent Stage

Smithereens

Sat 3/18 @ 8PM

Alternative pop rockers the Smithereens formed in 1980 and sound-wise should have been a slam dunk to have hits in the New Wave/MTV era. Perhaps they just weren’t colorful enough; they always just looked like average joes.

But maybe that was for the best. They also had no shot at being a novelty one-hit wonder. A few minor hits in the late ’80s and early ’90s made them a college radio staple and they’ve persisted through the years, with original members Pat DiNizio on vocals and guitar, Jim Babjak on guitar and vocals, and Dennis Dikin on drums, with Severo Jornaicion replacing original bassist Mike Mesaros in the mid ’00s.

They’ll be back in town at the Kent Stage where they’ll perform with another band with roots in the New Wave era, Northern California’s Motels fronted by vocalist Martha Davis, who provided a mature, knowing counterpoint to some of the era’s girly singers. Unlike the Smithereens, the Motels did hit pay dirt with a couple of tunes, 1981’s “Only the Lonely” (not the Roy Orbison song) and 1983’s “Suddenly Last Summer” (no connection to the Tennessee Williams play).

They petered out and unlike the Smithereens disbanded for a while. Davis has been leading a revolving door of Motels bands since the late ’90s.

Tickets for the Kent Stage show are $37.50-$47.50

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