A lighted stage overlooking a sea of neon scrunchies, legwarmers and teased hair was the typical night for every band back in the 1980s.
While that may have been the image nearly 40 years ago, that’s still the same scene Nite Wave sees today. For them, every day is the ‘80s.
Nite Wave — a local ‘80s new wave cover band — has been touring throughout the Pacific Northwest for the past nine years. The band has opened for Billy Idol and played alongside Jane Wiedlin of The Go-Go’s, Clive Farrington of When in Rome and ‘80s icon Tiffany.
Nite Wave is made up of five guys who just really love new wave. Fronted by lead vocalist and rhythm guitar player Michael Henrichsen, the band is made up of Evan Galt (bass, vocals, keys), Dave Dodge (lead guitar, bass, keys, vocals), Jim Simbe (keys, vocals, bass) and Jeff Mills (drums).
The band covers a range of ‘80s new wave classic bands such as Duran Duran, The Cure, INXS, The Cars, Prince, Depeche Mode, Tears for Fears and Billy Idol.
“Playing this music, the music that we love, makes us happy and makes other people happy,” Dodge said.
Brought together through their shared love of music and a Craigslist ad, the band shows no sign of slowing down.
The band played more than 60 shows in 2019. That’s a leap from playing about three shows a year back in 2011.
The band credits its long-standing success to its dedication to music and the fans.
“The music has to be there,” Galt said. “Unlike a lot of cover bands, we’re probably one of the only ones that practice almost every week — and that’s outside of shows.”
“We’re always thinking about what we can do different at the shows,” Dodge said. “We’re learning new songs, we’re playing at different venues and doing different things… We never want to give the same show twice.”
Part of that includes reaching out to ‘80s icons and inviting them to play with them. Nite Wave first performed with ‘80s pop star Tiffany in 2017. Now, she’s coming back.
“It’s absolutely amazing she wants to come back and play with us,” Simbe said. “It’s such an honor.”
Nite Wave will be playing with Tiffany on Feb. 21 at the Crocodile.
While most of their shows take place in several of Seattle’s night clubs, such as the Nectar Lounge, the Crocodile and the Tractor Tavern, the band also plays Emerald Downs, McMenamins in Bothell, Taste Edmonds, and most recently, Tacoma’s Spanish Ballroom and the Kirkland Performance Center (KPC).
Now, the band is coming to Bellevue. Well, coming back to Bellevue.
“We used to play at The Parlour all the time,” Henrichsen said. “Those shows were always great. It was usually a sold-out show.”
Compared to Seattle, the Eastside is accused of lacking when it comes to music venues. Since The Parlour’s closing, the band has been trying to play more shows on the Eastside.
While looking for Eastside venues, the Meydenbauer Center Theatre popped up on their radar.
“We thought, ‘Why not?’” Henrichsen said. “We knew an audience was there.”
The Meydenbauer Center Theatre is a 400-seat theater — quite a bit different from the average Seattle night club the band is used to playing.
“We don’t know how a lot of things are going to turn out,” Dodge said. “It’s always a risk — a calculated risk.”
“We’ve never been bitten before, so we thought we’d give it a shot,” Henrichsen said.
Fortunately, the band now has a good sense of how a show at the Meydenbauer Center Theatre might go.
Nite Wave recently performed at KPC back in October. KPC is also a 400-seat theater in the heart of downtown Kirkland.
“It was a great show,” Henrichsen said. “People got out of their seats and sang and danced in the aisles…We’ve been invited back.”
The band is excited to hopefully add another Eastside venue to its growing show list. Henrichsen said the band knows the fans are there, as the fans remind them at each show.
“We have fans that come from all over the state, parts of Oregon and even Canada to see us,” he said. “We’re so happy and grateful to have such amazing fans who like us and who are willing to travel to see us.”
Nite Wave will be performing at the Bellevue Meydenbauer Center Theatre on Feb. 28.
A lot has changed for the band over the past nine years. From performing at new and diverse venues to playing with ‘80s new wave stars, it’s all about the fans at the end of the day.
“Everyone at each show feels like family,” Henrichsen said. “We’ve met so many friends through Nite Wave and we wouldn’t trade those for anything.”
“It’s very humbling to think we’re a part of their lives,” Dodge said. “Because they’re definitely a part of ours.”