Hail to the King: A rockabilly birthday bash for Elvis

Hail to the King: A rockabilly birthday bash for Elvis
Screamin’ Rebel Angels

This is a tribute fit for a king.

Elvis Presley would have turned 78 years old on Jan. 8. So to honor the late icon’s birthday, new venue Radio Bushwick is hosting the “Elvis Birthday Tribute Extravaganza,” with performances from four live bands, plus Elvis-themed dance, costume and trivia contests.

Headlining the show will be Brooklyn-based rockabilly band Screamin’ Rebel Angels. Frontwoman Laura Rebel Angel has been throwing an Elvis tribute for the past five years as a way to celebrate the man and his music.

“Besides loving Elvis as the amazing performer and icon that he is, I find that these shows are a great way to introduce a larger audience to the current genre of rockabilly that is happening in New York City, and Brooklyn in particular,” said Angel, who is christening Radio Bushwick, the neighborhood’s first professional concert hall, with its first rockabilly show. “Early Elvis is the gateway drug of rockabilly, and we’re trying to give the audience a taste and hope that they get hooked.”

To that end, Screamin’ Rebel Angels and the three other bands on the bill — the Bothers, Sean Coleman and the Quasars, and the Raw Dogs — will each be performing a handful of Elvis songs — both classics and more obscure tunes — alongside their own originals. Angel said her band will take on Elvis’s treasured tracks “Hard Headed Woman,” “Hound Dog,” and “One Night of Sin.”

The night’s festivities will also give audience members the opportunity to channel the King themselves. SlapBack, a vintage boutique in Williamsburg, will host a costume contest and award prizes for three different Elvis-related personas — “Rockabilly Elvis” (think vintage blazers with skinny ties and pocket squares, or gabardine shirts with neckerchiefs), “Crazy Vegas Elvis” (jumpsuits and sunglasses will do the trick), and “1960s Priscilla Presley” (“We will be looking for the giant hair, heavy eyeliner, and bombshell dresses,” said Angel).

Additionally, an “Elvis Pelvis Dance-Off” will award those with the best hip-swiveling moves, while the trivia contest will give attendees the chance to prove they know their “Blue Suede Shoes” from their “Moody Blue.”

“The Elvis Birthday Tribute will be filled with so many opportunities for audience participation,” said Angel. “It’s more than just a rock ‘n’ roll show.”

“An Elvis Birthday Tribute Extravaganza” at Radio Bushwick [22 Wyckoff Ave. between Troutman and Starr streets in Bushwick, (917) 893–8935, www.radiobushwick.com], Jan. 8 at 8 pm. $10.