Led by original Oingo Boingo drummer Johnny “Vatos” Hernandez and featuring Oingo Boingo members — guitarist Steve Bartek, bassist John Avila, saxophonist Sam “Sluggo” Phipps, and keyboardist Carl Graves — Oingo Boingo Dance Party (OBDP) is a fitting celebration of the new-wave band’s legacy. In addition, OBDP includes new blood — current high-energy vocalist extraordinaire Brendan McCreary, lead guitarist Woody Aplanalp, rhythm guitarist Mike “The Spike” Glendinning, trumpeter Brian Swartz, trombonist Wendell Kelley, accordionist Doug Legacy, and second bassist (and Johnny’s son) Freddy Hernandez.
With such a stellar lineup, OBDP was sure to shake the rafters and get the audience partying at the Libbey Bowl. Starting with “Insanity,” the group full throttled an impressive 22 songs, including the killer tunes “Nothing to Fear,” “Grey Matter,” “Private Life,” “Only a Lad,” “Weird Science,” “Just Another Day,” and “Dead Man’s Party.” Interspersed in the mix were a few classic covers: saxophonist “Sluggo” sang Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s campy “Monster Mash,” while McCreary nailed a spot-on Cab Calloway vocal impersonation on the jazz classic “Minnie the Moocher.”
Opening act The Sound of Ghosts took to the stage in pre-Halloween splendor decked out as the Scooby-Doo gang, with vocalist Anna Orbison as Daphne, her husband/co-vocalist and upright bassist James Orbison as Scooby, guitarist Ernesto Rivas as Fred, violinist Phoebe Silva as Velma, and drummer Jon Sarna as Shaggy. This L.A. band, which might best be described as the spiritual heirs of X, entertained mightily with their Americana tunes, including “Open Road” and “Song Number 9.” A splendid time was had by all at this Dead Man’s Party.