As we near the one-year anniversary of David Bowie’s January 10 passing — also referred to as the moment 2016 began an unprecedented shitstorm — Boston is all but letting the icon’s legacy return to ashes. This Sunday would have also marked the Starman’s 70th orbit around the sun, and to celebrate, the Boston nightlife scene rolls out a unique lineup of Bowie-inspired events to commemorate the life and death of the cultural icon.
Boston’s no suffragette city, but we try.
The festivities start on Saturday at the Regent Theatre in Arlington with a multimedia celebration of Bowie’s music. The evening features two Bowie cover sets from Boston outfit the Daily Pravda and a presentation by Jeff Rougvie, who worked closely with Bowie at Salem record label Rykodisc.
The Daily Pravda vocalist David Jackel describes the band’s tribute as a balance of classics and the new-noir of Bowie’s more recent work, minus any corny impersonation flubs. “We will be performing a mix of classic Bowie songs from his early pre-glam period all the way up to Blackstar, with a focus on material from the days of the Spiders from Mars line up,” Jackel says. “We try to stay faithful to the spirit of the songs, without doing David Bowie impersonations.”
In between the group’s two sets, Rougvie will discuss his 10 years of working with Bowie and present unseen material and visuals from some of the 20 releases that he and Bowie collaborated on. Tickets are $17 in advance and $22 day of the show, and the show is all ages.
Over in the Fenway, “HEROES” has never needed a special reason to bust out the delectable underground and alternative dance jams, but on the eve of Bowie’s birthday, Saturday’s celebration at Machine will be extra bittersweet. Delve into the lower depths of the Boylston Street nightclub to raise at the part-new wave, part-electro, dance party. “HEROES” DJ Chris Ewen is likely to provide an extra dose of Bowie for the starman’s birthday — because if you were at their Bowie tribute night last winter, you certainly know Ewen’s the best in the business. The cover is $10 and the event is 21-plus. [Note: If going out this weekend isn’t in order, the “Heroes” Ashes To Ashes Bowie tribute night — a full night of nothing but Bowie — returns to the Middle East on January 21.]
But things certainly don’t end there.
On Sunday, Niki Luparelli hosts a piano bar cabaret for Bowie’s birthday at the Club Café’s Napoleon Room. There’s no cover for the vintage-style show, and if you’re nice, Luparelli might let you weep your own cover into her mic. Luparelli, a Bowie superfan whose love dates back to being a member of the 1998 internet server Bowienet, says that despite the tragedy of the singer’s early death, she refused to halt her seven-year streak of doing Bowie shows.
“When he died, I almost quit doing Bowie shows altogether because I couldn’t see the point anymore, but these songs are important,” Luparelli says. “It’s important to keep his music alive. They are like jazz standards and have so much meaning to so many.”
The cabaret caps off at 9:30 p.m., so make sure to get your glam-rock fix before the room closes.
With the early close downtown, there’s plenty of incentive to cap the night at the Model Café is Allston, where their own Bowie birthday bash starts at 10 p.m. and runs strong until last call. Slurp down a cheap cocktail while enjoying the best Bowie vinyl and rarities on the turntable into the wee hours of twilight. And if you have a favorite, come with suggestions. “[Dave] Unger will be busting out all of his Bowie vinyl, rarities and favorites,” reads the event description. “Requests will most likely be granted. Cheap drinks, sweet things to be played at maximum volume.”