There are few bands out there that completely surprise me any more these days. I don’t know if it’s the fact that the older I get, the more music starts to sound the same or similar to another song that’s out there now. Or perhaps there aren’t many original bands out there this day.

I usually leave the task of updating my iPod with music to my husband. He’s pretty good at picking up music he knows I’d enjoy. A couple years ago, my Hubby downloaded the album “Night on Fire” by VHS or BETA. I had never heard of them before, but they instantly became a favorite of mine. Their sound reminded me of bands that I loved back in the 80’s. To me, without reading any previous reviews on them, they sounded like a cross between Duran Duran during their “New Romantic” era and Robert Smith from The Cure. It was the type of music that made me want to roll down my car window and sing at the top of my lungs, like I used to in high school.

A few weeks ago, Hubby and I were listening to them in the car (and yes, I was singing along). I turned to him and said, “If these guys ever come in concert, I would love to check them out.” Imagine my surprise when last week, he told me they were coming to Detroit. Yeah, we definitely had to go.

So last night, we drove to the Magic Stick to check the band out. I was taken back by how relatively empty the place was. I would have thought that more people would have dug their sound as well. It wasn’t until VHS or BETA actually came on and said that they were happy that anyone showed up at all as Morrissey was also in town, that I remembered that bit of news. Regardless, the band totally ROCKED! (How 80’s sounding is that?) And since it was such an “intimate” atmosphere, that made it all the better.

But going back to the whole “surprised” part of it. The band itself, was not at all what I would have thought they would look like. I pictured tailored Durannie-looking outfits and a mostly synth-based, drum and bass-loaded band. What stood in front of me was a skinny better-than-early-Axl Rose-without-the-big-hair-looking band. And what I thought would be mostly pre-recorded tracks on a Mac laptop that was hooked up to the keyboards was really a full-out band. And the way they played together, it was just a perfectly engineered sound. A very very tight sound. (And on a completely different note, I was totally floored by the fact that the lead singer was Asian… Represent!!)

So there you have it. A big thumbs up for VHS or BETA from me. If you guys ever get a chance to see them, I recommend that you do. In the mean time, check out the video for “Night on Fire” which has got to be my favorite tune from them. And let me know what you think … you be the judge.