Published on May 23rd, 2018

June in Florida used to mean Spring Break had just ended and Summer Break had begun. Kegs and party favors were simply replenished during the minor lull, and then once more into the fray! South Florida in the 1980s is the stuff of legend; wistful tears are shed even today for hair lost and brain cells fried. All things must end, though, and those wild-child brigades moved on to the responsibilities of adulthood, including offspring of their own learning to party to excess.

But what if there was a way to revisit that magical time of the Button South, Flynn’s, Elbow Room and all the other local outposts of debauchery? Welcome to the Summer Jam 80’s Party on Jupiter Beach. This year’s edition revives the music that ate up the airwaves and MTV in the age of Ronald Reagan and the grandfather clause for under-21 drinking.

Patty Smyth and Scandal

Headlining is John Waite, the onetime Babys and Bad English frontman who went solo with “Missing You.” Patty Smyth and Scandal bring their big ’80s ballads and empowering rock anthems (“Sometime Love Just Ain’t Enough,” “The Warrior”). The Romantics, those new-wave greaser fellas, can’t not play “What I Like About You,” a song so pervasive back then that your local chic mall store inevitably ran out of black and red leather ties. They’ve also got “Talking in Your Sleep,” a surprise second act with a slinky Stray Cats-meets-The Clash vibe that’s an admirable distance from their earlier Beatlesque jams.

These Bands From a Time don’t quite hibernate in between decade-themed festivals. Waite recently issued a greatest-hits package. Smyth and Scandal still tour and record. But it’s kind of like they’ve become employees of the songs that made them famous. Tommy Tutone, for example, who singlehandedly created the most requested or detested phone number in history, will be on hand to celebrate “867-5309/Jenny” turning 35 this year.

The last act on the Summer Jam menu is the Filmores, a kind of whole-era tribute that inhabits the ’80s aesthetic so perfectly it’s like they arrived by time machine.

Summer Jam 80’s Party starts 2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 2 at Abacoa Town Center Amphitheatre in Jupiter Beach. TICKETS: RSVP on Facebook
~ Tim Moffatt

Clip to Evernote