Evolution of Urbanism: Totally 90s Performers Bringing Nostalgia to Boston

Posted February 26, 2013 by Scott Kearnan in Downtown Boston

Dust off your Doc Martens and fire up the original Nintendo. The 90s are back. Shagadelic, baby!

This week’s installment in our evolution of urbanism series takes a look forward and backward. It’s a little scary that enough time has passed that my teenage years can be considered suitable for nostalgia. Evidence of 90s flashbacks has been everywhere for the last couple years–from new sequels of Clinton-era classics such as American Pie and Scream, to new albums by pre-millennium hit makers No Doubt and Garbage. Heck, even Boston’s own original boy band, The New Kids on the Block, is about to hit the road on their “Package Tour” with Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees. My high school era is officially a thing. Now can someone please green-light I Still Know and Will Never Forget What You Did 16 Summers Ago? I’m sure Jennifer Love Hewitt would be up for it.

Singer-songwriter Jewel is among the 90s-era acts hitting the Wilbur Theatre soon! Photo Credit: Yahoo! Blog

Downtown Boston is about to become the epicenter of this trend, thanks to acts coming to the Wilbur Theatre in the coming weeks. Find the full lineup and tickets here. Can the evolution of urbanism include a little bit of looking back? Absolutely. So if you’re ready to make like a Ninja Turtle and surf the wave of nostalgia, here’s a guide to performers who will be making big waves. Cowabunga!

Bob Saget

Friday, March 1 at 7:30 p.m.

As Danny Tanner on Full House, Saget was a total softie–the kind of dad who was always crouching down on one knee to console his daughters and deliver life lessons about dating, self-esteem, and dead goldfish. But as a comedian: Holy Toledo, Uncle Jesse! Saget is dirty and foul-mouthed, filled with risqué sex jokes and four-letter words that would have gotten DJ grounded on prom night. I’ve seen him live before, and his stand-up show is hilarious. It’s made all the funnier by the way Saget totally exploits our associations with his famously squeaky-clean show. He’ll turn the Wilbur into a house full of hilarity.

Janeane Garofalo

Saturday, March 2 at 7 p.m.

Smart and sardonic, Garofalo is one of my favorite female comics. I could listen to her wax about politics, pop culture, and personal hygiene (a few of her favorite topics) for hours. Her deadpan delivery is just that priceless. And it doesn’t hurt that she starred in Reality Bites, which is hands-down one of the best 90s movies. That coming-of-age flick defined Generation X. It features a bunch of twenty-something friends battling cynicism and aimlessness as they try to establish post-college careers and relationships–with varying levels of success. It was Girls before Girls, and Garofalo was the beta version of every tattooed and indie band-loving hipster girl to follow. Bow down and pay homage.

Scott Weiland: Purple at the Core

Thursday, March 7 at 8 p.m.

There are a few musical genres that really exploded in the 90s: mainstream rap (Snoop Dogg, anyone?), teen pop (young Britney, we miss you), and grunge (all hail Nirvana.) Stone Temple Pilots was a band that helped to define the last category, though as the years went on they branched out to dabble in other sounds, from psychedelic rock to metal. But for his solo tour, lead singer Scott Weiland will be focusing on material from the first two STP albums: Purple and Core. These records yielded alt-rock classics such as “Interstate Love Song” and “Plush.” These are the kinds of songs that kept my eyes glued to MTV and my fingers at the ready to hit the “record” button on my stereo’s tape deck. Dig out your finest flannel for this show.

Megan Mullally: Nancy and Beth

Sunday, March 10 at 7 p.m.

As Karen Walker on Will & Grace, Megan Mullally created one of the funniest sitcom characters of the 90s. She was a pill-popping drunk and a materialistic narcissist. She was never caught without a designer outfit on her back and a hilariously witty comeback on her tongue. And we loved every minute of her. The downside of creating such a memorable character is that it’s hard to get audiences to see you as someone else. But if anything can get us to (temporarily) suspend our affection for Karen, it’s Nancy and Beth. It’s actually a two-woman show, starring Mullally and actress Stephanie Hunt of Friday Night Lights. They met while filming a movie together and discovered that they could also make beautiful music. So, armed with a band and alter egos, they’ve hit the road. I can’t get to their show fast enough.


Tuesday, March 12 at 8 p.m.

The fun thing about nostalgia is that it suddenly makes you feel a deceptive fondness for people you didn’t particularly care for the first time around. Admittedly, I wasn’t Jewel’s target demographic when the singer-songwriter first started strumming her folksy pop. Plus, I forever associate her emo poetry with a melodramatic ex who seemed to have her B-sides playing on constant rotation. But now? I must admit, I’ve come to appreciate the craftsmanship behind tunes such as “You Were Meant for Me” and “Foolish Games.” Jewel’s hits shine even brighter in an age when so many pop stars do little more than deliver auto-tuned vocals for a song someone else wrote. So whether you’re rediscovering her gems or you’re a longtime fan, Jewel’s is a show worth catching.



Be the first to comment!

You must be logged in to post a comment.