I've not been sure where to start with the music of that era. So many bands crossed my path during that period between 1979 and 1986.
One local band that jumps to mind - mostly for their stage presence - was Reesa and The Rooters. Fronted by the always-stunning Reesa Marchetti, I first discovered Reesa by listening to WXPN somewhere back in 1978. She had a hypnotic voice and from my friends who had seen her live, I heard she had quite a stage presence.
In the fall of 1980, a few friends of mine piled in a car and drove to Baltimore to check Reesa out at a place called The Marble. The one driving was this dude (Steve, I think - I remember he had 50-style frames!) who I had met at a record shop on Oxford Avenue up in NE Philly. He was either the owner or partner in a new music fanzine called Terminal and they were all heading down to check out the Reesa show. I had helped him distribute and sell the fanzine that summer, so he asked if I wanted to tag along and I did.
The space was in the basement of a fleabag hotel in Baltimore's forgotten section. The band rocked!! At one point Reesa was somewhere in the crowd - screaming into the mic - all part of the performance. The two women in the band went on to become Suburban Wives Club - which was an all girl new wave band.
Reesa has been second to none when it comes to documenting the Philly music scene of our youth and has put together a great and detailed website - before I give you the link, I want to show you an image taken from her site - just to prove to you how slummy South Street was 'back in the day'...
That's Reesa lifting a dumpster outside of J.C. Dobbs. The empty lot behind her is where Jon's Restaurant is now, right at the corner of 3rd and South Streets. That empty building across 3rd street still exists. The thing to note is that most of South Street looked like this picture back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was definitely not a tourist destination. hahaha
OH - so Reesa's tribute site! It's http://relivethe80s.com/