Bowie tribute comes to First Ave

The 8th annual tribute to David Bowie will feature appearances from members of E.L.NnO., the Goondas and Phantom Tails

Raghav Mehta

 

What:âÄúRebel, Rebel –âÄî Rock for Pussy VIIIâÄù: A musical tribute to David Bowie

When:Friday, 8 p.m.

Where:First Avenue mainroom, 701 First Ave.

Cost:$8 adv./ $10 door

 Moxie Salon providing glam make-up for $1

(All proceeds donated to St. PaulâÄôs Feline Rescue, Inc.)

There are only a few musicians in the rock âÄònâÄô roll pantheon as unabashedly weird as David Bowie. Over the course of more than four decades the man has balanced the old with the new, theatrics with musicianship, swagger with creativity. But unlike some of his wrinkly peers, BowieâÄôs popularity hasnâÄôt eroded with age.

And now for the eighth straight year, members of the Current and the Twin Cities music scene will convene for âÄúRebel, Rebel –âÄî Rock for Pussy,âÄù another gaudy tribute to the blue-eyed starman,

Founded by the CurrentâÄôs DJ Mary Lucia , âÄúRebel, Rebel, âÄî Rock for PussyâÄù not only pays homage to the godfather of glam rock but also operates as a charity benefit for St. PaulâÄôs Feline Rescue, Inc., a nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to saving homeless and endangered cats.

With local singer-songwriter John Eller at the helm, the event features an 11-man ensemble that will be accompanied by a lineup of guest singers throughout the evening. Eller said that while the setlist is determined by the guests, which include local vocalists like the GoondaâÄôsâÄô Brenden Green and the HoneydogsâÄô Adamy Levy, the band tends to borrow from the earlier chapters of BowieâÄôs voluminous songbook.

 âÄúWe tend to do more what Bowiephiles consider the RCA-era stuff. But itâÄôs everything from âÄòSpace OddityâÄô through âÄòLetâÄôs Dance,âÄôâÄù**** Eller said.

While Current DJ Dave Campbell admits he was more of a fair-weather fan prior to participating in âÄúRebel, Rebel –âÄî Rock for Pussy,âÄù he finds it hard to understate BowieâÄôs role as one of the most musically influential songwriters during his âÄô70s heyday.

âÄúThe combination of what heâÄôs done vocally, creatively with album concepts and producing other people and what heâÄôs done aesthetically makes him one of the most interesting people in rock âÄònâÄô roll in the last 50 years,âÄù Campbell said. âÄúIf you think about the theatricality of what he was doing for a good 10 years there, he really brought the glam movement forward. He was the nexus of it.âÄù

But BowieâÄôs impact transcends music. In an era where rock âÄònâÄô roll was all about ego and swagger, Bowie and glam cohorts like Marc Bolan (T.Rex) and Bryan Ferry (Roxy Music) pushed cultural boundaries, infusing androgyny and garish stagecraft into their performances.

   ItâÄôs a moment that Minnpost arts and entertainment writer Jim Walsh speaks about with an air of nostalgia and glee. Walsh, who will be making his fourth appearance singing at âÄúRebel, Rebel –âÄî Rock for Pussy,âÄù recalls how the genre connected with a demographic that sometimes felt rejected and unrepresented by mainstream rock âÄònâÄô roll.

âÄú[Glam Rrock] truly was about freedom and truly about letting go and I think thatâÄôs what the beauty of it is,âÄù Walsh said. âÄúI love being in a room with people who probably discovered this stuff when they were coming of age. ItâÄôs a very silly love vibe; itâÄôs really cool.âÄù