Bowie and Bolan at the Rex
• The people have spoken -- and glam is good.
The David Bowie tribute at the Rex this summer got such a big response that singer Chris Theoret and his 11-piece backup band, The Goon Squad, are presenting an encore performance at the South Side club Friday.
"A lot of the songs in the set will be the same, since there are certain Bowie songs that are so iconic you have to play them or else people will be disappointed," according to music director Rod Schwartz. "But there's a lot in this new show that's different. There are a bunch of great songs we didn't play in the first one that we're getting to now, and we're working on some new arrangements, such as adding sax that maybe wasn't on the studio version but was included when Bowie played live. So we're reflecting not just Bowie's albums but also his live performances a little more."
This time, Bowie will be joined by one of his contemporaries, Marc Bolan, in the form of Bobby LaMonde and his Cursed Cabaret, which will perform the T. Rex classic "The Slider" in its entirety along with other Bolan-penned classics. This is the 40th anniversary of that album, as it is for Bowie's "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars."
Singer-songwriter LaMonde, who's played in such glam bands as Trash Vegas and Science Fiction Idols, discovered the album in 1990 and, he says, "it meant everything" to him.
"Basically, it was the groove and the sound. Even to this day, as much as I've dissected it, I still can't quite put my finger on why, which in itself is one of the things that makes it what it is. Most Bolan fans will tell you that. As huge as they were, it still retains a kind of cult status. I was already so heavily influenced by the New York Dolls at this point that I thought if I could combine my sorta Johnny Thunders' influenced guitar sound with this T. Rex groove, I really have something awesome."
"The Slider," released the year after T.Rex hit the Top 10 with "Get it On," included the singles, "Telegram Sam" and "Metal Guru," which flopped in the States but topped the charts in England.
"The challenge of playing it," he says, "is to try to re-create the sound of the record rather than sound like we're just covering the songs. It's not totally perfect but that's part of the charm. We were still able to put a little of ourselves into it to give it some originality. It wouldn't be me if it weren't a little rough around the edges."
Expect it to have plenty of glitter-rock atmosphere sprinkled on top. The Cursed Cabaret will be supported by two female backup singers, Emily Bair and Gina Collazzi, plus Joe Moore from the local Stones tribute band Mother's Little Helpers adding cello and string arrangements.
The show will benefit Dave Whaley, the Dave's Music Mine employee and Cursed Cabaret/Pump Fakes drummer who was assaulted on the South Side earlier this month and suffered a broken orbital bone. Proceeds will help him with medical bills.
"He has a long road to go," Mr. Schwartz says, "but is doing better every day, and he has been blown away by the support from family, friends and strangers."
Angelo Amantea of The Dirty Charms (former Sci-Fi Idols) will fill in for Mr. Whaley, joining bassist Darren Hammel in the Cursed Cabaret rhythm section.
The show is at 8 p.m. at the Rex, 1602 East Carson St. Tickets are $12 advance; $15 at the door. Admission is 21-and-over only. Call 412-381-6811.
Expen$e at Ziggy's
• If you hung around at the Decade in its early days, you might remember the band Soundtrack, which was led by Robert Michaels.
The singer-guitarist went on to form the Adams/Michaels Band in 1980, and then in 1995, the pop-metal band Expen$e, which was influenced by the likes of David Bowie, Bad Company and Van Halen. It got some local radio play with the album "Pocket Full of Change," which the band recently released with four additional songs.
You can catch the rock trio -- which also features bassist Christine Michaels and drummer Bruce Goettler -- at 9 p.m. Saturday at Ziggy's Tavern, 9101 Perry Highway, McCandless. Call 412-837-2688.