Who’s Bad is a Michael Jackson cover band. The first time I saw them, I was wearing stiletto heels, and no one told me the band was playing on a BEACH. Therefore, the stilettos sunk like the dudes in Blazing Saddles, and I rarely moved anything but my hips. (I was also wearing my Pittsburgh Steelers jersey, and if you haven’t heard that story: https://saradobie.wordpress.com/2009/06/18/what-i-learned-from-jerome-bettis/.) Regardless of my initial Who’s Bad experience, I saw them for the second time on Saturday night. I realize Michael Jackson is dead (and Santa Claus doesn’t exist), but I also realize that Michael Jackson’s music is not dead. Saturday night sold out, and Windjammer looked like a mosquito after the Fourth of July.
Windjammer is a dive bar right on the beach on Isle of Palms in South Carolina, and yet, Windjammer gets bands that headline in New York. Tickets are usually fifteen-bucks a pop, and no one bats an eye, even after your feet stick to the floor and even after you pay four dollars for a warm beer. The next morning, you usually wake up face-down in your own bed, covered in sand, wondering why your clothes are all wet, until you remember the seemingly unavoidable trip to the ocean after the show. Well. When I put it that way, the fifteen dollars is a deal! You’re paying for a night you’ll barely remember but never forget.
So we went Saturday to see Who’s Bad at Windjammer. We arrived on time; the band didn’t go on for another hour and a half. When they went on, though, they WENT ON. The boys rocked until 2 AM, playing every hit we could think to scream. They rolled through Billie Jean, Man in the Mirror, Thriller…you name it, they did it. The lead singer looks like Michael Jackson, before Michael Jackson got weird. The band is a mix of musical backgrounds; they’re all young, and they’re all extraordinarily talented. When the lead dude needs a break, the other boys jam. They take turns jamming, each one-upping the other in a cascade of improvisational genius.
There are even moments of choreographed dance routine, wherein which the lead singer and two of his background dudes roll out music video moves and Thriller throwbacks. Through all this, the crowd dances and screams every word. By the end of the show, you feel like you actually did see Michael Jackson—reincarnated and existing in an innocent, youthful state before the court cases and the creepy marriages. You feel exhausted. You feel exhilarated. You want to keep dancing, so of course, you move to the beach and hope the band wants to join for a swim.
Saturday was a good day.