Take Me To The Wilbur: Talking Heads tribute Start Making Sense jam in Boston

At some point during Start Making Sense’s upcoming show December 23 at the Wilbur Theatre, you may tell yourself, “This is not Talking Heads.”

And you may ask yourself, “How did I get here?”

The answer is because you really love “Once in a Lifetime,” along with every other zany tune penned by David Bryne. Start Making Sense, a seven-piece self-proclaimed “tribute to genius” from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, hits up the Wilbur the Friday before Christmas to resurrect the best music from one of America’s first alternative bands.

In the 25 years since Talking Heads broke up, lead singer David Byrne has had his share of killer collabs (including an entire album with alt-songstress St. Vincent and the soundtrack for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps with Brian Eno), but the Heads’ catalogue has gone untouched by the full band. Tribute group Start Making Sense picked up the weirdo-rock band’s legacy in 2009, and have since been playing songs that Byrne and co rarely or never played live, including bop-y hit “And She Was” and “Wild Wild Life.”

The show is a fitting match for the Wilbur, which usually hosts the best of groups from previous eras of rock. And if you can’t see Byrne shimmy in person, you might as well watch Start Making Sense singer Jon Braun do his best impersonation. Drummer Jesse Braun noted that a large part of the group’s show recreates the band’s music film Stop Making Sense and other live albums that Talking Heads released when they were still active.

“We replicate a lot of the choreography and visual aspect of the film, as well as the arrangements of the songs,” says Braun. “For material that isn’t in the film, musically, we base a lot of the music on The Name of This Band is Talking Heads live album and different bootlegs, and concert footage we’ve collected over the years. We try to maintain the high energy and visuals that Stop Making Sense has throughout the whole show.”

And because Start Making Sense’s antics this time around take place at the Wilbur Theater — a 1,200 capacity venue — the group has room to up the ante of their performance, a major part of any act that hopes to live up to the ridiculously high entertainment value of Talking Heads’ original showmanship.

“We’ve played a number of clubs in the city: Johnny D’s (RIP), the Middle East, the Paradise, but this is our first time at the Wilbur, and we’re very excited,” Braun adds. “The larger venue allows us to step up our production a bit and bring a slightly larger band.”

Bust out your jumbo shoulder pads and “expect surprises,” Braun warns; the group intends to do everything but burn down the house.

START MAKING SENSE + HMFO (HALL & OATES TRIBUTE) :: Friday, December 23 at the Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St. in Boston, MA :: 8 p.m., all ages, $24 :: Advance tickets :: Wilbur event page