Spinning Platters Picks Six: Former Teen Idols Playing SXSW

by Dakin Hardwick on March 10, 2011

Nope, Teen Idles aren't getting back together this year...

SXSW is a great place for a band to go to generate buzz at the beginning of their career. It’s also a great place for a band that was once on the top of the universe, but isn’t anymore, and is looking for a career resurgence. Many of these bands at one point in time were “icons,” some may have even qualified as teen idols. This is a guide to some of my favorite former rock stars gracing the SXSW stages:

1.) Duran Duran

Duran Duran are a strange beast. They are one of the few teen pop bands to have some actual cred. It might be because they were part of the new wave movement, which seemed to respect the pretty boys. They are also no strangers to the “comeback,” having done surprisingly well in the mid-90’s, when they had a few hits on alternative rock radio. More recently, they’ve done a surprisingly not terrible record with Timbaland (2007’s Red Carpet Massacre)

2.) Panic! At The Disco

2006 was a pretty insane year for this band. They went from a group of good looking guys that have rarely played live with an infectious debut record out on an indie label to an arena rock giant with the MTV’s coveted Video Of The Year award. The success came swiftly, almost too fast. They regrouped, switched up their sound with the psychedelic twee record Pretty. Odd, which ended with Jon Walker and songwriter Ryan Ross leaving to start the 60’s pop influenced Young Veins. The bands appearance at SXSW is where the band will be debuting their first songs written without Ross, and might be the place where it is decided whether they return to the arenas, or if they have to rename themselves Panic! At The Desk Job.

3.) The Bangles

This is another partial reunion, missing bassist Michael Steele, who is probably working really hard at changing her name these days. All joking aside, these ladies wrote some of the catchiest songs of the 80’s, with the sweetest harmonies on earth, backed by 60’s influenced power pop melodies, and are always welcome to a comeback. True, their performance at last year’s Lilith Fair was slightly underwhelming, but after a year of getting back in gear, it will be nice to hear what they end up doing.

4.) Hanson

Hanson are the only “original” line up on this list. They are also probably the most misunderstood group in the history of pop music. Most people that are only superficially aware of this band think of them as another late 90’s throwaway pop group, a la LFO, Aqua, OMC, and the ilk. This is simply not true… It doesn’t mean that Hanson are cut out for everyone, but they were, and still are, one of the most gifted bands out there. Their sound is a fusion of 60’s power pop with three part harmonies and Creedence Clearwater-inspired American Roots Rock.

On that note, why don’t you take a few minutes out to listen to them cover a Radiohead song from Kid A:

5.) Rooney

Rooney probably don’t belong on this list. They are a group of good looking, photogenic guys that do catchy, guitar based pop songs about girls, fun, and girls. Frontman Robert Schwartzman was the dreamy love interest alongside Anne Hathaway in 2001’s brilliant The Princess Diaries. I honestly don’t understand how this band didn’t become as big as Fall Out Boy. Anyhow, they might be a little too old for teen idol status now, but they still sound good, and they still look good, too.

6.) BlueBonnets

When The Go-Go’s “farewell” tour was canceled last year, I was pretty devastated. They are one of my all time favorite bands, and we were even going to be there as press, which would have been quite exciting to me. Sadly, they had to call it off because Jane Weidlin injured herself hiking. Although she’s fully healed, and ridiculously busy if her twitter is telling the truth, they still aren’t playing again any time soon. With Belinda Carlisle doing the solo thing again, Charlotte Caffey working on the UK debut of her musical, Gina Schock working with teen sensation Selena Gomez & The Scene, it leaves Kathy Valentine alone to rock. So she moved to the live music capital of the world (Austin, TX) and put together an amazing band call The BlueBonnets. They fuse together Chicago blues, pop-punk, and the sugary sweet harmonies of The Go-Go’s for a unique and fun brand of music. They also aren’t actually playing an official SXSW showcase, but if you go to The Ginger Man (301 Lavaca St) on the 18th, you’ll catch an awesome day party where they play after the legendary Mike Watt.


The Pretty Reckless

This is Taylor Momsen of Gossip Girl’s band. In 10 years, they will be featured in this column. Just giving you a heads up!

Yoko Ono

Yoko may have never been a teen idol, but she married one. And, I like her, and I’m pretty stoked that she’s playing this gig. She’s even playing a show with Petra Haden’s If By Yes, and I totally swooned for Petra Haden when I was a tween. I was a weird kid…Anyhow, here’s video of her doing a show in LA with Lady Gaga:

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