We all have a band or two or maybe a few songs that really bring back the memories of days of shenanigans and debauchery where we are all surprised we didn’t get into more trouble than we did. Atlanta’s The Producers are one of those bands who provided part of the soundtrack to those amazing times and many of us always wondered why in the hell these guys didn’t rise to the top of the industry because they produced some of THE best power pop songs of that era, even if their run as short lived.
If you were lucky to see those guys “back in the day,” then we are envious of you, but we finally got our chance to see the original lineup recently on a short run of dates that were billed as the “Mid-Atlantic Reunion Tour.” The guys ventured to Virginia and played shows in Norfolk and Richmond and finished their night show run in Raleigh, North Carolina at The Pour House Music Hall. It’s a cool little venue with a great vibe and provides an intimate and up-close performance regardless of where you are in the venue. We love going to shows there we couldn’t wait to see these guys after all these years.
After a rowdy and energetic opening performance by The Fabulous Knobs, and maybe a few tasty beverages, the crowd was beyond loosened up and ready for The Producers to take the stage. The guys took the stage to a thunderous roar from the packed house and kicked off the show with “Operation” from You Make The Heat. All of the guys took part in sharing funny little moments from their career as well as little bits of song info. We were treated to a funny story of how Wayne McNatt was dubbed Wayne Famous and other funny gems. Bassist Kyle Henderson jokingly told the crowd that the band needed affirmation from them when they posed a question to them and, of course, the crowd roared back. All of the guys were in a great mood and having a blast performing.
For the most part, the setlist stuck to the band’s first two releases and there were several tracks that got a great reaction from the crowd. It’s amazing how a live performance of a song can change your opinion of it and that could go both ways. In this case, it elevated their song “I Love Lucy,” which was already a favorite of ours, and made us love it even more. Of course, “What’s He Got” received a great reaction as well as “She Sheila.” There were others that we really enjoyed, but to be honest, we thoroughly enjoyed the entire show from beginning to end. I think the sequencing of the songs was great as well because the show flowed so well from beginning to end.
The show ended with an encore of two covers that included “A Hard Day’s Night” from The Beatles and “Crossroads” by Robert Johnson which was later popularized by Cream. Overall, it was such a fun show that we thoroughly enjoyed. The songs took us back to different times in our lives and you could see the smiles on the faces from different people in the audience with each song played. Some people raised their fists in approval, some sang, some high-fived the person they were with, but everyone had a ton of fun. The guys may have calmed down a bit on-stage from the way they were back when they headlined MTV’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in 1982 (Martha Quinn introduces them at the 17:11 mark), but there’s nothing wrong with that. Let’s be honest; who hasn’t calmed down a bit compared to how they back in their twenties? I will admit that I did miss seeing Wayne rock out on the keytar and I hope it makes a return to the stage sometime soon. To see these four guys (Van Temple, Kyle Henderson, Wayne Famous and Bryan Holmes) on stage together was a bit of a dream come true for me. I love these guys, I love the great tunes that they’ve contributed to the soundtrack of my life and I loved this show. I would love to see them stop in Raleigh, NC again and hopefully their return visit won’t take so long to happen.
Check out these pix from The Producer’s performance at The Pour House Music Hall in Raleigh, North Carolina on October 21, 2017. Click on each image for a larger view!