Hair Raid at Whiskey River Saloon
This is part of a series of reviews of bands who play weekly at local bars.
The show: Hair Raid at Whiskey River Saloon.
The look: Honky tonk with a coat of Aqua Net.
The smell: Sweet. The carpet was sticky and you could tell lots of drinks had been spilled there.
The taste: Super size bag of potato chips -- big and loud.
Three words/phrases to describe the night: Leather, hairspray, over-the-top.
Who to bring with you: Anyone who misses the excess that was the '80s.
Drink of the night: Shot of Jack Daniel's -- straight up.
The members of Hair Raid look like they each aspire to be part of a desperate and different, yet very iconic and over-the-top '80s band. Borrowing from the styles of Bret Michaels, and members of Mötley Crüe, Twisted Sister, Bon Jovi, and Def Leppard, their mocking name says it all. It's no secret that I'm not a fan of cover or tribute bands. However, I have an immense appreciation for people and bands that don't take themselves seriously, and do what they do in at least a somewhat ironic way.
If there was any doubt about just how Hair Raid saw themselves, every question was answered when they busted out a can of aerosol hairspray on stage to touch up a voluminous wig that one of them was sporting. It was in this way that the band mirrored everything that was ridiculous about the '80s -- from the fashions, to the larger-than-life personalities that dominated the music and entertainment world. Big speakers, loud synths, flashy outfits, and the apparent desire for some sort of pathetic attempt at sex appeal were all things that defined '80s pop culture. And Hair Raid nailed it.
They played nearly every '80s song you'd expect to hear requested by a frat boy on a night out with his buddies. And they did it with humor and the kind of mocking tone that only comes from people who appreciate the original product, but adore its eccentricities and flaws. At one point, they had asked girls to come on stage and dance during one of their songs. In order to sweeten the deal, they offered to buy them drinks. It was then, and only then, that three gals came up front and busted a move for booze.
Hair Raid also paid plenty of attention to detail, doing choreographed jumps during the Van Halen song of the same name, and making sure the inflection in each tune was just as the original version had called for. While the large wooden dance floor in the center of the room wasn't oft occupied, they did get a few dancers here and there, and the crowd still requested songs by name and sang along. Again, it wouldn't ever be the kind of thing I would just decide to do on a Thursday night, but even I couldn't help buy smile and laugh along with everyone else. The crows was relaxed and enjoyed themselves, whether they were old enough to have appreciated the tunes when they were popular in an unironic way or not.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Phoenix, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.