Hamilton, Ohio – Both the Talking Heads and Just Strange Brothers are exactly what you expect while simultaneously being nothing like you imagined.
Need confirmation? The latter opens the Fitton Center Show Stoppers series Sept. 10 with its tribute to the former.
Prepare for a show that’s endlessly talented, immensely creative and maybe a step or two out in left field.
“I try to write about small things,” said Talking Heads founder and lead singer David Byrne during the band’s acclaimed 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense. “Paper, animals, a house. Love is kind of big. I have written a love song, though. In this film, I sing it to a lamp.”
See? Just a step or two.
“When we do a tribute show, it’s a tribute to the music more than the performers,” said Fitton Center Executive Director Ian MacKenzie-Thurley. “It’s about the essence of the music and trying to bring that to life in a new way rather than somebody putting on a big white suite and trying to be David Byrne.
“You can’t be David Byrne; only David Byrne is Davide Byrne. But that music is accessible in a lot of ways.”
And oh, what music it is.
Three Talking Heads songs ("Psycho Killer," "Life During Wartime" and "Once in a Lifetime") appear on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll. Other hits include “Wild Wild Life,” “Take Me to the River” and, of course, “Burning Down the House.”
A quote from the title track indicates audiences can expect the unexpected.
“My house's out of the ordinary, that's right,” the lyrics proclaim. “Don't want to hurt nobody. Some things sure can sweep me off my feet.”
Danny Manning is the mad scientist maestro music directing Just Strange Brothers – a core of outstanding local musicians with specialized artists and singers added for each show – to do the sweeping.
JSB began the Showstoppers phenomenon six years ago with their tribute to David Bowie. Most recently, they closed the 2021-2022 season with their unforgettable Goodbye Yellow Brick Road tribute to the music of Elton John. In between they’ve curated and crushed performances devoted to yacht rock, the women of rock and acts with hellacious horn sections in a show called Kickin’ Brass.
“There’s a reason we keep bringing these guys back,” MacKenzie-Thurley said. “Just Strange Brothers are a big part of what changed the Fitton Center for the better. We talk about Before Bowie and After Bowie when we brought them in for their first show. They’ve been great friends to – and great favorites of - our audiences ever since.
“This show is unique. You can’t find another one like it. The music – and the quality of the musicians performing the music - the projections and the whole atmosphere, we’re going to bring some fun to all of this that audiences haven’t had a chance to experience before.”
Bonus - resident Mixologist Logan Adams will have a new signature cocktail to keep guests cool during this hot show. Tickets are available online right here, by phone at 513-863-873, ext. 110 or in person at the Fitton Center; cost is $32 for Fitton Center members, $39 for the general public. (ArtsWave Pass holders may buy one ticket and get a second one free with code.)
The Fitton Center for Creative Arts is located at 101 S. Monument Avenue on the Riverfront in downtown Hamilton, Ohio.
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