Editors' pick

The Legwarmers


Editorial Review

The Washington Post's Buzz McClain reviewed a Legwarmers Show at the State Theatre

The Legwarmers have created quite a scene with their monthly shows at the State Theatre. If Friday's sold-out performance was any indication, the 'Warmers are onto something big as their popularity increases. It's just too bad they can't do anything more with it.

The Legwarmers are an '80s tribute band, whose every song is a hit that brings the house down with spontaneous, exuberant "I know this song!" singalongs. That makes it hard to record an album. The only merchandise is a T-shirt, which seems okay with the band and the fans: Everyone involved knows this is a goof, a guilty pleasure, and everyone is respectful, if not reverential, of the original material.

Take for example Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl" from 1981. If it comes on the car radio you listen to the first verse and then change it to . . . well, okay, let's get to the loud part and sing with it. In concert, you just give yourself up to the band at the beginning and start screaming the lyrics at the players as they sing back to you.

That's the thing: You're convinced you can sing these songs as well as the band, because you know all the lyrics by heart. And so you sing with the band, and there's sort of a second-generation karaoke effect going on that everyone is on board with.

This went on for the entire two sets at the State. "Safety Dance." "We Got the Beat." "Eye of the Tiger," for gosh sakes. "Dancing in the Dark." "Rock 'n' Roll High School." "I Love Rock and Roll." "Kids in America," which followed an eruption of repeated calls for "America!" from the audience.

It's a VH-1 extravaganza, with a crowd of thirty-somethings fist-pumping to the familiar. And the five-piece band and two-piece horn section faithfully played the songs -- and playfully, too.