? & the Mysterians

Back in black…sunglasses, that is. Forget the fictional “That Thing You Do,” ? and the Mysterians are the archetypal ’60s garage band success story: Five Latin sons of migrant workers transplanted from Texas to Saginaw, Mich., record a salty “69 Tears” on a friend’s suburban patio. This organ pounder, a Tex-Mex R&B number closer to the sound of Austin’s Sir Douglas Quintet than to that of their Detroit peers plying whitebread teen angst at the Hideout Club, was retitled “96 Tears” by the censor-wary owners of Philadelphia’s PA-Go-Go records. A smash hit on Canadian super-broadcaster CKLW, which blanketed Detroit, it was snatched up for national distribution by future Beatles lawyer Alan B. Klein in the summer of ’66 (a season still more Liverpool than love in most of the U.S.). By that Halloween these Midwest teenagers had the No. 1 song in the nation. Fast forward almost 32 years, and the newly reformed original Mysterians are wowing crowds weaned on the retro sounds of bands like the Lyres and the Cynics with an authentic ’60s-style performance—you can visualize the white lipstick and go-go boots of the audience at their October 1997 New York performance, recently released as a live album. ?’s Ian Svenonious-meets-El Vez antics have earned him guest spots on Howard Stern, a recent profile in TV Guide, and a gig with his band Central Park as part of New York City’s July 4 festivities. With the Prissteens and Ruby Dare at 9:30 p.m., Friday August 14, at the Black Cat, 1831 14th St. NW. $10. (202) 667-7960. (Don Smith)