Reliving the '80s: A Totally Tubular Night at YouTube Theater

Article Contributed by L. Paul Mann | Published on Tuesday, July 9, 2024

The Totally Tubular Festival, a summer tour across the country, found its ideal home at the YouTube Theater in Inglewood on June 29th. This luxurious 6,000-seat venue, nestled in the SOFI Stadium complex, boasts the best live music sound system in the Los Angeles area, thanks to the state-of-the-art system integrated by the French company L-Acoustics. The festival, featuring eight hit-making acts from the '80s New Wave genre, made full use of the larger-than-life sound and extraordinary multimedia visuals available. The Totally Tubular Festival at the YouTube Theatre was a blast from the past, with a lineup of '80s acts that brought back memories of neon colors and big hair. The audience was treated to a night of pure nostalgia and fun, with standing ovations and sing-alongs. A carefully choreographed DJ set of '80s remixes kept the energy high during the multiple set changes.

Eddie Munoz | Totally Tubular Festival

Eddie Munoz, the original guitarist of the Plimsouls, opened the show with his solo band, playing a four-song set. The final hit tune, “A Million Miles Away," was the first to elicit a standing ovation and sing-along from the festive crowd. The song, featured in the teen angst film Valley Girl, was the first signal that the show was going to be a night of magical nostalgia.

Tommy Tutone | YouTube Theater

Tommy Tutone and his band were up next and played a set of five songs, ending with one of the biggest radio hits of the '80s, “867-5309/Jenny,” which resulted in another massive audience sing-along.

Bow Wow Wow | Totally Tubular Festival

Bow Wow Wow presented a whole new level of energy at the Totally Tubular Festival. The audience was treated to the most authentic of the two versions of this touring band. The version fronted by original singer Annabella Lwin proved to be the better option. Lwin’s energetic presence and the band’s performance of hits like “C30 C60 C90” and “I Want Candy” made them a standout act of the evening. Lwin showcased her prowess as the perfect frontwoman, captivating the audience with her infectious energy and enthusiasm, and her backing band was full of musical vitality. It’s worth noting that the Burmese singer was only thirteen years old in 1979 when Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren recruited her for the band. Now 57 years old, the spry singer was the youngest of the original performers at the festival.

The Tubes | Totally Tubular Festival

The Tubes, a quintessential band at the Totally Tubular Festival, showcased their enduring talent and stage presence. While their set of songs was limited, it was both disappointing and exhilarating at the same time. Hits like “TV is King,” “She’s a Beauty,” “Sushi Girl,” and “Talk to Ya Later” delighted the audience, but there was a sense of wanting more, perhaps a performance of “White Punks on Dope” or “Don’t Touch Me There.” The Tubes demonstrated why they are considered a top-notch band, leaving fans wanting more of their exceptional music.

Men Without Hats | YouTube Theater

The next five-song set by the French Canadian band Men Without Hats was one of the biggest surprises of the night. The New Wave synth-pop band, originally from Montreal, Quebec, had the crowd on their feet the entire time. Their music, characterized by the baritone voice of their lead singer Ivan Doroschuk, was a ball of energy dancing about like a teenager. The set ended with one of the biggest dance hits of the era, “The Safety Dance 12." This unexpected burst of energy from Men Without Hats added a thrilling twist to the festival.

Modern English | Totally Tubular Festival

Modern English played one of the most extended sets of the night, deservedly so. The English band, formed in 1979, was at the forefront of the New Wave movement, recording on the groundbreaking indie music label 4AD. Lead singer Robbie Grey still has a strong, steady voice and spry, youthful energy, leading his band, who continue to rock hard. The band performed in front of a massive crowd at last year’s Cruel World festival in Pasadena. The set ended with the band’s biggest hit, “I’ll Melt With You.”

Thompson Twins | YouTube Theater

Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey delivered a visually spectacular multimedia performance at the Totally Tubular Festival, who also had the longest set of the night. Bailey treated the audience to hit after hit, including “If You Were Here” from Sixteen Candles, “You Take Me Up,” a cover of Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer,” and crowd favorites like “Doctor! Doctor!” and “Hold Me Now.” Bailey’s deadpan vocals and the exceptional performance by his all-female band did justice to the classic Thompson Twins songs, leaving a lasting impression on the audience from start to finish.

Thomas Dolby | Totally Tubular Festival

Thomas Dolby faced a challenging task as he took the stage solo at the Totally Tubular Festival. Rather than attempting to outshine the previous performances, he stayed true to his unique style, tinkering with his keys like the mad scientist persona he is known for. Dolby, Gary Numan, and others were at the forefront of bringing electronic music into pop culture. A tribute to the legendary David Bowie, with whom Dolby shared the stage at Live Aid, stood out as a highlight, along with the quirky hit “She Blinded Me With Science.” Despite the high energy of the evening, Dolby’s distinct performance left a lasting impression on the audience.

Totally Tubular Festival | YouTube Theater

Check out more photos from the Totally Tubular Festival.