Day 46 – Concerts and production

Given that there’s no sport and no socialising at the moment, I have found myself trawling the internet for stuff to watch.
They are generally quick trawls. You don’t have to look very far.

One of the things I have been enjoying is some of the concerts that have been made available for our lockdown entertainment. And one of the things that amuses me about them is just how polished a “proper” concert video is when compared to what’s being offered at the moment.

NOT THAT I AM COMPLAINING, you understand…

I’m very grateful to have these things to watch.

Here’s an example: my man-of-the-moment Baxter Dury playing an intimate gig in a French penthouse, BTV:

versus this from his bedroom for the Royal Albert Hall Home a couple of weeks ago:

Don’t be fooled by the impressive title page. Click through and it’s wonderfully laid-back, fun, sweary and deliciously informal and almost amateurish: backed by his son on guitar when the recorded backing track didn’t work and with a half dead fern in the background.

Love it!

One more example, and this one is somewhere in the middle. It’s an OMD gig and yes, the footage was also recorded BTV – last year, in fact – but never readied for performance. So you occasionally get hands in front of the camera, it gets bumped by energetic concert-goers and there are sometimes chunks missing between the songs. Who cares? It still looked and sounded great on the big 4K TV in the corner of my living room.

We watched this premiere on Saturday evening after winning the Captivity Pub Quiz Part II by a whole half a point. Really good evening, and some good memories of seeing them really live back in 2012.

Will we ever do concerts again? I wonder.

In the meantime: more online gigs, please.

The Punishment of Luxury

First full day on my hols. I’m hardly likely to be writing you an essay, am I? (Spoiler: I wrote a small one for tomorrow’s post.)

So let’s have some music.

The keyboard work on OMD’s new single is the 2017 embodiment of Kraftwerk. That’s obviously no bad thing.

The lyrics and video poke fun at our disposable, trivial, superficial and narcissistic modern lives. They’re not inaccurate.

Thus, it makes for both excellent and somewhat disturbing listening.

OMD – they’ve still got it.

Propped up by Corenza C and Red Bull, I made it out to Grand West last night for the first OMD concert in SA since 1994.

This isn’t likely to be the most impartial review you’ve ever read. It was never going to be, because I could listen to 80’s synthpop forever and a day and still enjoy every single second of it. And when it comes to 80’s synthpop, OMD were.. are… it.

No pretence from Andy McClusky that his dancing style is bizarre at best, nor that he’s getting on a bit.
On the the crowd’s reluctance to get involved:

Don’t be scared. I’m 53 and I’m still dancing like an idiot.

And then after a particularly energetic effort to Maid of Orleans:

It wasn’t dignified 25 years ago and it’s not got any better.
But at least I can still do it!

And he could. An admittedly generally sycophantic crowd were transported back to earlier times as they knocked out hit after hit, Paul Humphreys repeating those electronic riffs which kept us entertained on cassette all those years ago.

Considering this was “soulless” electronic music, there was passion and, strangely, almost a spiritual element to the performance.

Oh – and the new stuff isn’t bad either. This was a very pleasant surprise.

OMD wrote Electricity when they were 16 – a fact that a quick glance at the lyrics will confirm. But as we’ve mentioned before with these 80s bands, those lyrics worked back then. And, as Kraftwerk showed, the singing was rather incidental to the electronic beats and the keyboard themes.

Thankfully, OMD have moved on lyrically since then. But their recent stuff still holds true to their musical roots – and for me, that’s just great.

Robot Apocalypse

I’m full of snot and I want to go home and sleep so that I can attempt to enjoy OMD this evening.

Herewith then, via a link from @JacquesR, important information from XKCD on how the forthcoming robot apocalypse could affect us:

Here are a few snapshots of what an actual robot apocalypse might look like:

In labs everywhere, experimental robots would leap up from lab benches in a murderous rage, locate the door, and—with a tremendous crash—plow into it and fall over.

It’s very informative and very amusing. Go there and come back here tomorrow for a concert review (possibly).

OMG OMD

We got back from the UK to find that 80’s legends OMD were performing in Cape Town next week. It’s this sort of post-holiday bonus that makes the air travel all worth it. Even with that baby on your flight.

A quick look at their discography is like a Who’s Who of 80s synth classics: Enola Gay, Electricity, Tesla Girls, Locomotion, Souvenir. But they also had hits in the 90s too: Sailing on the Seven Seas and Walking on the Milky Way.
I’m now playing catch up with their latest album,  History of Modern Part I.

So yes, we’ve got our tickets and we’re off to see them.

As with all bands from previous eras, their line-up has changed over the years. But unlike other “old” bands who have been to SA recently this touring line-up is the “classic” one from 1980-1996 (Humpheys, McCluskey, Cooper and Holmes). They may all be in their early 50s now, but as the video above shows, there’s no shortage of energy.

Linkin Park, Schminkin Park. I cannot wait for next Thursday.

OMD are playing at Grand West in Cape Town on Thursday 2nd August and Emperor’s Palace in Gauteng on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th August. Tickets at Computicket

Oh, and if you’re into your 80s stuff, have you seen this?