Journey sing-alongs are normally reserved for moments alone in your car or an a cappella rock block in the shower. But at Spaceland Friday night, we screeched through the Streeet-light, Peep-pu-u-ul! of “Don’t Stop Believin’,” the staccatoed, Ooh, all night. All night. Oh, every night, of “Anyway You Want It,” the banshee cry ?I really LOVE you gir-rl of “Separate Ways.” Oh boy, did we sing along. Some of us hadn’t perspired this much since high noon at Coachella.
We were a mixed crowd of longhaired Samoans, classic-rock dudes, hair-metal queens, lesbians and a few hoochy mamas among the club’s indie regulars, all out to catch Infinity, the mustachioed, female-fronted Journey cover band. Singer Woody “Steve Perry,” with sideburns and a shag wig this side of “Oh Sherrie,” tore through song after song, while drummer Sherri “Steve Smith” Solinger, with a faux womb broom above her upper lip, hit the skins like she was going into battle. Since the real Steve Perry won’t bury the hatchet with his old bandmates, and the sort-of Journey that remains mostly tours Europe, this is the closest we can get. And didn’t Perry sound like a chick anyway?
For the duration of Infinity’s one-hour set, we sang along at the top of our lungs. We recalled past loves, heartache and heartbreak, and the kind of longing that worked you up so bad only a power chord and high C could satisfy. Journey is all about expressing deep emotions — loudly. It isn’t really about stadium rock, it’s emo with guitar solos. It’s about the power ballad. And with Infinity — a side project with members of the Muffs, the Murmurs, Longstocking, the Lisa Marr Experiment, Breech and Patsy — it’s about the promise, as the cover band boasts on its MySpace page, to make every show “a frenzied, sweaty, good-time sing-along.”
Friday, we were even treated to a guest appearance by a bearded “Kenny Loggins,” who joined “Perry” in a rousing rendition of the duet “Can’t Fight It,” which got even the reserved indie kids moving. The encore, “Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’,” brought down the house. By the end, the damp mess of a crowd were waving lighters above their heads, moving in a mass of salty flesh.
The inner groupie in me emerged as soon as the lights came up, and I rushed the stage to ask if I could come backstage and hang out. “Steve Smith” took me under her wing toward the dressing area, where the band was just as sweaty as the crowd. “Loggins,” still amped from her performance, was nervous.
“Did you see the mike break?” she asked.
I assured her it was phenomenal.
“I gotta get out of this,” she said, pulling on her facial hair as the members of Infinity began to tug at their extraneous hair as well. “Steve Smith” removed her flavor saver; “Steve Perry” was dewigged. “Kenny” peeled her beard back, her skin stretching with it, then off came the mustache. It was like watching a spy remove her disguise. And when she took off the Kenny wig, a blue-eyed, honey-blond beauty with a great smile emerged.
“Whew!” she panted. “That’s better!” The transformation was shocking. If only the real Journey guys looked like her. Talk about open arms.