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Review and photos by Andy ArgyrakisIn the UK, Bananarama is continuously celebrated as an evolving dance act, though American audiences have generally confined the group to just a trio of 80s hits. "Venus," "I Heard A Rumour" and "Cruel Summer" are still cranked out regularly on the radio (regardless of season), but there's certainly less visibility on these shores for the duo comprised of Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin.
Nonetheless, the girls are staging a rare stateside tour this month that doesn't just celebrate their thirtieth anniversary of music making, but also benefits Hard Rock Cafe's breast cancer charity Pinktober. It's certainly admirable that 100% of the ticket proceeds go to that very worthy cause, and while Bananarama is perhaps nothing more than a fluffy novelty these days, at least the pair turned in an ultra-fun show of pure bred pop at the national chain's Chicago venue.
Though the group could've easily went the pre-recorded track route, a four piece backing band and two male dancers (albeit half the ladies' age) helped keep beat to dance floor fillers like "Really Saying Something'" and "Cruel Summer." Believe it or not, the hour long set wasn't just an oldies revue, but featured several newer tunes like "Now Or Never" (the title track from a 2012 EP) and 2006's "Move In My Direction," both of which could easily compete with current offerings from Kylie Minogue or Scissor Sisters.
Yet it was clearly the group's smash hits that truly got the intimate environment jumping, mainly MTV staples like "I Heard a Rumour" and "Venus," plus the equally infectious sing-a-long "Love In The First Degree." Even if Bananarama won't go down in the history books as game changing geniuses, the band had no trouble bringing the party three decades into its career, which coupled with the vital cause, added extra merit to the enjoyable evening.
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