Sunday, April 03, 2005

The Judys kick ass!

Just got back from my trip to Houston to see The Judys and OH MY GAWD! It was amazing. I was practically delirious when they played "Don't Be a Hippie" and "Guyana Punch". This will go down as one of the most thrilling shows I've ever seen.

Let me back up. , David Bean (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Jeff Walton (bass, vocals), and Dane Cessac (drums, vocals), were a new-wave band from Pearland, TX (outside Houston) in the early 80s. They were big in Texas, both as a headliner and as an opening band for the B-52s and Talking Heads, but never reached prominence in the national scene and broke up after a number of years. I became a fan later on and never thought I'd get to see this band with a reputation for highly entertaining live shows.

Recently, a great friend of The Judys, Patrick Scranton, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, so the band organized a benefit for the Stehlin Foundation for Cancer Research in honor of Patrick. Before an audience of mostly friends and family (I'm neither), The Judys put on an incredible show. Even after so long, they sounded fantastic; tight playing and great vocals. I hope they raised a lot of money, it was certainly worth it.

The show was permeated by The Judys infamous shtick. It was held in the auditorium of a former elementary school and the show started with woman posing as a teacher introducing the acts in the school talent show. First was a kid named Nicholas doing a short ventriloquist act. Then The Judys came on kicking the show off with "Vacation in Tehran".

Goosebumps. Seriously awesome. When they kicked into the next song, my friends and I ran up front with a bunch of other people and shook a tailfeather for the rest of the show.

The most surprising thing about the show is how they went all out, doing the original arrangments of "Zoo" and "Grass is Greener" as well as throwing a giant beach ball into the audience for "Her Wave" and turning on a bubble machine for "Underwater Fun".

Near the end of the show, they left the stage and after a bit of comedy from the "teacher", returned as a different band, The Swinging Seabees (I think that's the correct spelling, Seabees are the construction force for the Navy, bridging rivers and such). Dressed in milkman uniforms, they started the encore with, of course, "Milk".

The show ended with them graciously losing the talent show to Nicholas' ventriloquist act.

Aww geez, I cannot say enough how much this show exceeded my expectations. I hope they consider doing another show in Austin and finally re-release their music in a box set. In the meantime, check out a few songs on this website. To get a sense of them, I recommend listening to "Underwater Fun" off Wonderful World of Appliances, "Guyana Punch" and "She's Got the Beat" off Washarama, and "Don't Be a Hippie" off Moo.

* All photos from Patrick's website


  1. It was awesome. Thank you David Bean, Jeff Walton, Dane Cessac, Patrick Scranton and Mike Scranton for making this show happen.

  2. Wow. Great review. Thanks for posting it. I was lucky enough to see a previous reunion show in Houston back in the mid-80s at Numbers. Glad to see that they still have it after all of these years.

  3. It was supposed to be a surprise concert for Patrick that Mike and the Judy's were working on. Patrick was feeling very weak that day so we finally had to tell him why he needed to come to Pearland...He took all these pictures (as always) while feeling so horrible (he died just a month after the concert), but he was SO happy to be there and SO grateful, he had such passion for music and for life...I still have all his CDs, about 1000 of them, some bands have such weird names and weird music, but his favourites were the ones with the most beautiful music and the coolest lyrics like Tori Amos, Crowded House, Elvis Costello, Sarah McLachlan...I had the Judy's poster for the concert framed, after his death. I remember how I was teaching him to say A Girl of a 1000 smells in Russian, it was our favourite Judy's song.

  4. Thanks for your words Anonymous. It was clear from the show that Patrick was happy.


    1. how big is the beachball did it last long