Did the Lovemakers' sold-out set at the Fillmore prove the band has what it takes to go global?

It's official: Kitschy locals the Lovemakers are huge. Sort of. Searching for the band's name on LimeWire turned up plenty of results -- most involving an unholy trinity of professional escorts, Catholic schoolgirls, and hot dogs -- but no music. However, with the late-summer release of Time for Romance, Interscope imprint Cherry Tree is betting that these Lovemakers have what it takes to seduce a nation. Do they?

Last week, I headed to the Fillmore, determined to figure out how an Oakland trio-turned-quartet (thanks to drummer Josh Kilbourne), raised mainly in smaller venues like Café Du Nord, had suddenly sold out such a huge room. The answer is twofold: The Lovemakers, whose synth-heavy pop is heavily indebted to new wave footnotes like the Human League and OMD, have an ear for big hooks, so when bassist Lisa Light and guitarist Scott Blonde implore listeners to "Shake that ass!" it's not hard to comply. The music is bouncy, breezy, and fun -- ideal for a general-admission dance hall but as disposable as a Happy Meal.

This meal, though, comes wrapped in a Victoria's Secret catalog. Light and Blonde, who shed articles of clothing with each song and treat the audience to an "impromptu" make-out session, are handsome performers. It was no accident that they both lost their shirts less than 15 minutes into their surprisingly brief 50-minute set. After all, if you're going to sing about taking your clothes off ("We Should Be Taking Our Clothes Off"), you ought to deliver.

And the Lovemakers did, whipping the Fillmore faithful into a frenzy and eliciting a thunderous "Let's go, Oakland!" chant before a 20-minute encore that partially compensated for the quickie set, which left some fans looking for the nearest tossable object. But mainly Light, Blonde, and company accomplished what they set out to. They came, they played, they danced, both dressed and undressed, inspiring 1,200 Bay Area fans to do the same. If they can swing this feat outside their hometown, why, they may eventually share a nosebleed seat in the pop pantheon with, I dunno, Men Without Hats.

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