The Legwarmers have been operating as Northern Virginia’s version of Spinal Tap – the fictional group from the classic rock mockumentary “This is Spinal Tap” – for nearly 14 years, long enough for a whole new generation of concertgoers to catch the band’s fever for the 1980s.
“I think it’s that at our shows we have the people [to whom] it’s very much nostalgic, like they’re were in high school in 1982 and they just going back to that thing,” said Jorge Pezzimenti, who goes by Gordon Gartrell in the group. “Then you have people who were born in the 1990s at this point. And I think that’s cool, too.
“I know that sometimes that the people who were [alive in the 1980s] get kind of bitter about that, but I think, if anything, it must be cool that younger people are actually mythologizing your youth, or romanticizing it in a way that they really wish they were there.”
Pezzimenti – who said he’s most nostalgic for the 1960s – said he’s not sure why people got nostalgic for the 1980s like they did over the past decade, but thinks that it’s something intrinsic to human behavior.
“I think it’s like the human condition. We all pine for the ‘good ole days’ or whatever,” Pezzimenti said. “And when the people who weren’t there hear about it and they say ‘Oh, that kinda cool.’ I guess ever since [human beings have] been documenting that’s probably been the case.”
By the time pop culture started harkening back to the 1980s, The Legwarmers were already an established tribute band and fixture at The State Theatre and the nostalgia isn’t the only thing that has increased demand for the band around the nation.
“It’s cool that it works in different cities….it’s cool to see familiar faces in different places and stuff,” Pezzimenti said. “Because people dress up and it’s ‘Oh there’s the guy who dresses like…Cobra Commander in Norfolk’ or whatever.”
The Legwarmers’ show consists of the band jamming out tunes ranging from “I Ran” by A Flock of Seagulls to AC/DC’s “Back in Black” to Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done for Me Lately” while generations of music lovers party down.
“They come out to have a good time, for sure,” Pezzimenti said. “The majority of people are dressed up, at least with some accessory. At the very least, a loud-colored headband. And they’re definitely singing along.
“I always encourage people to come and check it out because people might have preconceived notions of what it might be like, which I understand. But I think it’s worth checking out because I think when most people leave they feel like they had a good time and it was worth their while.”
Falls Church’s State Theatre has been a home for the group almost as long as they’ve been active. The group played its second show at the former movie theatre that was re-purposed to serve as a venue for musical acts that span the decades. They play monthly shows at State, the next of which are March 6 and 7.
“Speaking of nostalgia, I watched movies at the State Theatre, when it was still a movie theatre,” Pezzimenti said. “That’s where I saw “Little Shop of Horrors,” so I’d always drive by it and say they should do something with it and when they did it was cool and it’s cool to play at a place with so much history.”
• For more information about The Legwarmers, visit thelegwarmers.com.