“Play the Blondie song!” Some guy shouted out that request in the middle of the show by the Paul Collins Beat last Thursday (Feb. 7) at Township. Other people in the crowd groaned. I think most of us wanted to hear that song — “Hanging on the Telephone,” which was originally recorded by Collins’ first band, the Nerves, before Blondie had a hit with a cover version — but this was an unfortunate way to phrase the request. In any case, when Collins and his band got around to playing “the Blondie song” a little while later, it was electrifying.
After the Nerves broke up way back when, Collins formed another band called the Beat — not to be confused with the English Beat. Later on, it became the Paul Collins Beat. In all of these guises, Collins has created some catchy power pop but he’s never gained all that much fame. But the folks who crowded into Township on Thursday clearly knew and loved his music. A fairly young crowd sang along to Collins’ songs, including a few that dated back to the first, self-titled Beat album from 1979, such as “I Don’t Fit In,” “Working Too Hard” and “Rock N Roll Girl.” The audience was on the verge of moshing at times. Now, that’s how you’re supposed to greet power pop royalty, people.