Heart Bones “Dirty Dancing” Makes For A Perfect Valentine At First Avenue


Nothing says romance more than an average looking middle aged white guy performing songs from a cheesy 80s movie. Don’t believe me? Just ask anyone who took their significant other to First Avenue last night to see Heart Bones performing songs from Dirty Dancing.


I got there early to make sure I would not miss the first opener Gully Boys. The trio was chosen as the “Picked To Click” artist by City Pages. What I did not expect was an acapella intro to Cutting Crew’s “I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight” as the first song followed by their surf punk version of it.

This was the band’s 2nd time on First Avenue’s main stage and they clearly enjoyed it. Their sound always has punk undertones but they comfortably cross genres and I am a sucker for their bass lines.  The Gully Boys are working on raising funds for a trip to SXSW, so if you catch one of their shows – buy some of their merch or a CD 🙂

Set List: Just Died In Your Arms / I Wanna Go Home / Big Bad Luvr / Short And Fast / Greasy / Tv Window / Neopot Graveyard / ?? / Little Brother / Half Full / Dizzy Romantics / New Song #2 / Nosy Heart

Houston’s The Suffers were up next. The 8 piece  band is straight up, very good soul with an occasional nod to other genres like Reggae. Singer Kam Franklin had thrown out her back just before the show so she spend most of her time on stage seated but managed to still keep everyone’s attention focused on her with her powerhouse vocals. She encouraged the audience to remember 2 things: The band’s name and where they were from – mission accomplished – and them some

Set List: ?? /Do Whatever / I Think I Love You / Stay / Everything Here / I’m Sill In Love / Giver / Make Some Room

Sean Tillmann aka Har Mar Superstar is a musical chameleon with his many personas and projects. One thing that’s guaranteed is that his performance will leave you smiling. He leaves it all on stage – each and every time. In Sabrina Ellis he found someone who can match him step for step. The duo had been working on original material but somehow the songs of “Dirty Dancing” keep creeping in and a show focused on the soundtrack was born.

Just before the start of their set Jeremy Messersmith’s new video “Sweep me off my feet” featuring Tillman was shown on the screen to the cheers of the crowd.

As a disclaimer: I never have seen Dirty Dancing (only a few snippets) despite my then girlfriend’s please. Teenage me was way to cool and new wave to be caught at that movie no matter what romantic enticements were promised.

What made this show so fun is how shamelessly the duo embraced the cheesiness of the movie and committed to their roles. Sure Tilmann is no Patrick Swayze but one wouldn’t know by the cheers coming from the crowd when he hamed it up to fans. And Ellist projected the awkwardness that made Jennifer Grey’s character so charming in the movie.

Musically it was perfect, the songs came to life just as intended with the crowd invited to sing along. Fitting for Valentine’s Day the encore brought a massive red white and pink balloon drop. The cool thing to watch was many couples embracing during various songs. Clearly my snobbish attitude towards “Dirty Dancing” was not shared by anyone else, and getting to hug and kiss your SO at a Valentine’s Day show seems like a pretty good way to spend your evening.

Rumor has it, bigger plans, a large scale festival and a tour are in the works for Heart Bones. So keep your eyes peeled. If last night was any indication, more fun is headed our way.

Set List: Unforgivable / She’s Like The Wind / Yes / Be My Baby / Hey Baby / Overload / You Don’t Own Me / Stay / Love Is Strange / Hungry Eyes / Little Dancer / Claws / Disapperer / Hurricane / This Time It’s Different

Encore: I’ve Had The Time Of My Life