Nite Wave’s Dave Dodge plays lead guitar from on top of a speaker during an Everett show at Tony V’s Garage. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Nite Wave’s Dave Dodge plays lead guitar from on top of a speaker during an Everett show at Tony V’s Garage. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Nite Wave is riding the ’80s nostalgia wave to sold-out shows

The Bothell band opened for Billy Idol in 2012. Now it’s playing New Wave hits for thousands of fans.

Bothell Reporter and Everett Herald

No matter what you thought of ’80s fashion, the music from the big-and-bold decade makes us all want to dance.

Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself.” Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf.” Prince’s “Purple Rain.”

It just so happens that Nite Wave — Bothell’s own new wave cover band — performs our favorites from the ’80s. The band is made up of Michael Henrichsen (lead vocals and guitar), Evan Galt (lead bass and keyboard), Dave Dodge (lead guitar), Jim Simbe (lead keys and bass) and Jeff Mills (drums).

Together for eight years, the cover band has opened for Billy Idol and shared the stage with Jane Wiedlin of The Go-Go’s and ‘80s icon Tiffany. And, on Oct. 11, Nite Wave will play with Clive Farrington of When in Rome at the Nectar Lounge in Seattle.

Next they’ll play Taste Edmonds, formerly A Taste of Edmonds, on Aug. 16. The band performed at the festival three years ago.

“You’ll reminisce about songs that you hear on the radio now and again,” Henrichsen said. “Even the next generation is nostalgic about it because their parents listen to this music.

“It’ll be great to be back.”

A Craigslist ad was placed for musicians to join an ‘80s cover band. In 2011, Nite Wave was formed.

Some ’80s music fans talk before the start of a Nite Wave show at Tony V’s Garage in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Some ’80s music fans talk before the start of a Nite Wave show at Tony V’s Garage in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Frontman Michael Henrichsen needed a band to help him get Billy Idol to play at Seattle’s Showbox SoDo.

Henrichsen, who is an Idol fan, made the website www.playmybirthdaybillyidol.com in 2010. It took two years, but Billy Idol finally reached out. Idol played for his 26th birthday.

With the Billy Idol show in 2012, plus Nite Wave’s own charity events, the band raised more than $17,000 for the Northwest Harvest Food Bank and the American Red Cross.

“I was looking for a band to play at these Billy Idol Aid events,” Henrichsen said. “But I didn’t have a budget to hire the band, so when no one wanted to do it for free, I started my own band.”

Since that momentous concert, Nite Wave has gone from playing about four shows a year in the Seattle area to playing more than 60 shows a year in the Pacific Northwest. The band regularly sells out shows at Nectar Lounge, The Crocodile and Tractor Tavern in Seattle.

“There’s a built-in audience for bands like us,” Simbe said. “The music is so much fun and it tugs on everyone’s nostalgic heartstrings.”

For most Nite Wave members, ‘80s new wave was the music they listened to in their formative years.

“I spent a lot of time and energy playing in original bands and they all go the same way,” Dodge said. “Playing this music, the music that we love, makes us happy and makes other people happy.”

Henrichsen, however, was born in 1986. He likes to say he has the ’80s in his blood: His parents named him after former INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence.

“It gives me perspective that I didn’t have growing up,” he said of his fellow band members. “I say I was born in the wrong decade. I should have been coming of age in the ’80s so I could go to more concerts.”

Frontman Michael Henrichsen, center, leaps across the stage as ’80s fans dance to Nite Wave’s show at Tony V’s Garage in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Frontman Michael Henrichsen, center, leaps across the stage as ’80s fans dance to Nite Wave’s show at Tony V’s Garage in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Nite Wave covers a variety of ‘80s new wave bands, including Duran Duran, The Cure, INXS, The Cars, Prince, Depeche Mode, Tears for Fears and Billy Idol. And get this — the band only plays live.

“What you hear is all us,” Simbe said.

“We don’t do pre-recorded tracks,” Galt said. “We try to play as live as possible.”

After eight years of playing set lists from the best of the ’80s, Nite Wave has found a new way to play. (The band knows about 150 popular songs from the decade.)

The band now puts on ‘80s homecoming dances and ‘80s prom nights at McMenamins Anderson School in Bothell. Nite Wave also has developed tribute shows such as for Duran Duran (Tiger Tiger) and Billy Idol (Whiplash Smile).

“We love what we do so much,” Simbe said. “The fact that we’ve been able to play with our icons is incredibly humbling.”

Herald features editor Sara Bruestle contributed to this story.

A fan watches Nite Wave’s show at Tony V’s Garage. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A fan watches Nite Wave’s show at Tony V’s Garage. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

If you go

Nite Wave will perform at Taste Edmonds at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 16 at Civic Playfield, 310 Sixth Ave. N., Edmonds. More at www.nitewaveparty.com. The band will also perform Sept. 14 at Tulalip Resort Casino in Marysville, Oct. 12 at Tony V’s Garage in Everett and Oct. 18 at McMenamin’s Anderson School in Bothell.

Taste Edmonds is 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 16-17 and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 18. The festival features food, live music, beer and wine garden, kids activities, bouncy houses and a cornhole tournament. Cost is $5. Children 12 and younger get in free. Call 425-670-1496 or go to www.tasteedmonds.com.

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