Facebook Slider

Erasure, Olympia Theatre, Dublin

  • Published in Live

 

It’s Erasure, so we’ll skip the introductions, right?! Tonight is the first of three dates in Dame Street’s grand old lady, The Olympia Theatre. It’s a real treat to see them play a series of shows in a smaller, more elegant venue, rather than another gig in the arena down the road. The original run was postponed when Andy Bell took ill in January, but they are back and getting ready for an American tour. The audience sing along enthusiastically with the warm up tape of The Human League and Eurythmics. Their fellow Londoners, Ekkoes, are the ideal support act for the venerable popsters. The quartet are young, attractive, and heavily influenced by tonight’s main act, as well as by Vince Clarke’s former comrades in Depeche Mode, and ‘80s electropop in general.

The theme tune from Tales Of The Unexpected comes over the tannoy and Clarke and Bell emerge onto the fluorescent framed stage; the backing singers on risers either side of the pair. ‘Oh L’Amour’ elicits a rapturous response and Bell apologises for the delay, “A couple of hours is diva behaviour but three weeks is pushing it”. The set spans their entire career: from their debut single, ‘Who Needs Love Like That’, right up to their latest offering, the Brexit and Trump inspired 'World Be Gone'. Their songwriting is remarkably consistent and new tracks like ‘Sweet Summer Loving’ sit seamlessly alongside ‘Blue Savannah’ and ‘Victim Of Love’.

Clarke remains inscrutable as he punches in sounds, and strums a guitar, on a platform two metres above the flamboyant focal point that is Andy Bell. Bell’s voice isn’t as spectacular as it was when he was a young man but he has written the new songs to suit how he sounds now, and the backing singers bolster the ‘80s and ‘90s tunes when needed.

A cover of Blondie’s ‘Atomic’ signals a change of gear and the crowd rise as one in acknowledgement of both the New York discopunks and the legendary pop stars in front of us. As Bell strips down to a skintight onesie, (it’s reassuring to see him strut around confidently with a paunch), ‘Stop!’ sees the energy hit a new high. ‘Love You To The Sky’ and ‘Always’ raise the temperature to summertime levels.

 

‘Sometimes’ hasn’t aged a day since its initial release in 1986, and raises the roof before the band leave the stage. When they return for the encore of ‘A Little Respect’, it’s on an equal footing, with the quartet at the lip of the stage; Clarke holding his acoustic guitar. In just over 90 minutes, they have raced through over three decades of hits. It’s a noticeably older crowd, many keep their coats on throughout, but the power of the performance, and undeniable genius of the tunes, has everyone out of their seats, singing and dancing. It’s a masterclass in how to be a pop band.

Read more...

Erasure Announce Collaboration With Echo Collective

  • Published in News

Erasure (Andy Bell and Vince Clarke) have announced a collaboration with Echo Collective, the Brussels based collective of post-classical musicians best known for their ongoing collaborative work with A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Johann Johannsson, Dustin O’Halloran and Stars of the Lid.

The collaboration sees the entirety of Erasure’s latest album, World Be Gone, given a post-classical rework. World Beyond was recorded over ten days by Andy Bell and seven performers from the Echo Collective: Margaret Hermant (violin, harp), Neil Leiter (viola), Thomas Engelen (cello), Jaroslaw Mroz (double bass), Gary De Cart (piano) and Antoine Dandoy (vibraphone, glockenspiel).

The album was produced by Echo Collective, mixed by Gareth Jones and arranged by the Echo Collective’s Gary De Cart, Margaret Hermant and Neil Leiter. Neil Leiter from the Echo Collective explains, “The process of this project was really deconstruction and re-purposing. We started by listening to each track layer by layer, and then, using the layers that inspired us or we found essential, we reconstructed the tracks instrumentally. Each of the instruments in the band setup were chosen for their inherent capacities and roles. Often choosing which layer to put with each instrument was a question of matching roles and colours. By stripping so much away, we were able to find a new space for Andy to fill. The text of the songs became much more important in the overall construction of the songs, and Andy was free to explore more dynamics and vocal range.”

The tracks featured on World Beyond show award-winning songwriters Vince Clarke and Andy Bell in a more reflective mood, giving the world and recent political upheavals a thoughtful examination. This new collaboration gives a new dimension to the tracks - including fan-favourites ‘Still It’s Not Over’, which tackles the LGBT rights movement post-Stonewall, and ‘Lousy Some Of Nothing’, a ballad for our post-truth age - but the band’s optimism about the future remains clear and bright. Andy Bell explains: “…the reinterpretations have brought such enormous context to the songs, it has created a new place for them.”

The original idea for the album developed from Vince Clarke, who initially suggested that a single from World Be Gone could be given an orchestral reinterpretation, but as the idea expanded and took shape, he spoke at length to the Echo Collective ahead of the recording. “It was great to talk through ideas with Echo Collective and then see how their arrangements took shape. The collaboration has given elements of the album a whole new feel and Andy's vocals remain as powerful and uplifting as ever” says Clarke.

The collaboration is a natural progression from 1987’s The Two Ring Circus, a companion EP for the band’s second album, The Circus, which included several orchestral interpretations.

Erasure embark on a sold out headline tour through Europe this month with support from Bright Light, Bright Light, starting in Dublin and including two London dates at the Hammersmith Apollo before dates in North and South America later this year.

 

 

 

Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed