Students spun right round at ’80s prom

Students were taken back to a time of skinny ties and big hair with the funky sounds of the cover band, Just Like Prom Night. The performance was the main attraction during ’80s Night at the Rathskeller on Friday, Oct. 30.

The longer the hair, the harder the rock at ’80s Night. (Ashley Long / Staff Photographer)

The show, sponsored by the College Union Board, was an energetic twist on songs from the ’80s. The group of five musicians called themselves central Pennsylvania’s only cover band.

Katie Robinnette, the lead vocalist,  explained that the band has been active for over three years, joining together from various states to bring back the sweet sounds of the ’80s at their shows all over the country.

“We like to think of ourselves as nostalgic ’80s or bubblegum pop,” she said.

The show opened with an upbeat poppy cover of  Madonna’s  “Like a Virgin.”  The song had a twist to it with the smooth sounds of percussionist Jason Hoffheins and bassist Mike Passariello.
In the spirit of Halloween, the band dressed a little more extravagantly than they usually do for their shows, Robinnette said. The ’80s came to life: The singer looked like Madonna, dressed up in a blonde wig and a belt that read “boytoy,” an allusion to the pop star’s famous buckle.

Passariello notably dressed in a bright yellow Ghostbusters jumpsuit and helped pump up the crowd during the band’s rendition of Ray Parker’s hit “Ghostbusters” theme song.

Katie Robinnette proves the ’80s are alive in the hearts of many. (Ashley Long / Staff Photographer)

While there were some songs thrown into the mix that not everyone knew the words to, there were a fair amount of tunes that people could sing along with, like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” or Young MC’s “Bust a Move.” Both songs were performed with Justin Levy on keyboard and backing vocals.

In the spirit of the ’80s prom night theme, the band decided to hold a prom King and Queen contest. Nearly all of the students who attended the show were dressed in ’80s attire, ranging from side ponytails to leg warmers. The band judged the audience members on who they felt best embodied the overall style of the decade. At the end of the night, the band announced Nikki as Queen and Matt as King, having determined they were the most fashionable and uniquely dressed of them all. It did not hurt that they also broke out fierce moves on the dance floor, definitely worthy of earning the crowns.

The band closed the night to Journey’s famous hit “Don’t Stop Believing,” with a whimsical guitar solo by Dave Rogoza.

Overall, Just Like Prom Night rocked the house, bringing something special and fun. Both its sound and look were a crowd pleaser, and the show transported people back to a simpler era of wacky styles and great music.

“I’m surprised that so many people of this age group know about this music … the ’80s are definitely making a comeback,” Robinnette said in response to the sizeable turnout of attendees.