The 1980s were a special time in Philadelphia’s musical history, a golden era of indie music that included Robert Hazard, (“Girls just want to have Fun”) the A’s, (“A Woman’s got the Power”) the Hooters (“And We Danced”) Pretty Poison (“Catch me I’m Fallin’”) and Tommy Conwell (“I’m not your man.”)
Reesa and The Rooters didn’t have a hit song that went on to sell millions like those mentioned but were known on the Philadelphia music scene for both their talent and their grandiose theatrics. Nearly 30 years later, Reesa and the Rooters are back. Keyboardist and lead vocalist Reesa Marchetti — who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 12 years ago — performs in a new, red, motorized wheelchair, but she never shies away from an opportunity to inject energy into her shows.
The current incarnation of the Rooters released an EP, “Melt the Iceman,” that’s been described as “punky rock for aging new wavers.” Backing Reesa are bass player Kristine Holt, singer Maureen Simmons, guitar player Dave Justice, and drummer Joe Putiri.
Reesa, whose Web site, relivethe80s.com, showcases the acts of the era will stage a show this Saturday, April 30 at the World Café Live, 3025 Walnut Street in Philadelphia called “Relive the ‘80s.” Her special guests will be Woz, Duncan Shrek Ogre, The Poet-Lariats with David Scott Smith and Sylvia Platypus.
Paul “Woz” Woznicki’s artistic electronic music was all the rage in ‘80s Philly underground venues such as the Kennel Club and Omni. His set will include cuts from his 1980 albums, “Straight Ahead” and “Tribes.” He currently performs in several groups including the Woz-Testa-Adelante Project. Woznicki is backed by Ken Spector on bass and Bruce Panula on drums.
Singer-songwriter Duncan Shrek Ogre (real name: James Duncan Smith) came up in the Philly music scene during the late 70s and early 80’s. Having played in just about every original music venue in Philadelphia, he has been associated with such Philly acts as The Sun Kings, A Cast of Millions, Press, Red and currently, Mooch’s Basement. The quirky pop-rock artist will play bass, backed by Marty McGee on drums, and guitar players Bob Byrnes and Jim Elliott.
The Poet-Lariats are led by Philadelphia singer/songwriter David Scott Smith, who recorded bouncy new wave vinyl 45s as the leader of The David Smith Four in the 1980s. He played all the usual haunts like Dobbs and the Hot Club back then. Bassist Jim Murtaugh, original David Smith Four guitarist Pete Quarracino, (an accomplished painter now), Jimmie “Goody” Goodfellow on drums, and his daughter, Devin, on vocals, will join David.
Kooky, charismatic singer-songwriter Janet Bressler is the leader of Sylvia Platypus, a band that dares to bring bagpipes into their “psycho-Celtic glam-blues” rock shows. With musicians who’ve been active since the ‘80s to those who were just born then, the lineup includes Bill Barone, lead guitar; Charlie Rutan, bagpipes; Michael Southerton, rhythm ; Ruchama Bilenky, bass; and Pat Brady, drums.