Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark at the Roundhouse
1980s Liverpudlian electro-pop legends OMD hit London mid-tour to a sold out Roundhouse. They’re promoting their very well received new album English Electric and arrive on the back of a triumphant set at the über-fashionable Coachella festival in Palm Springs. Californians will always have a place for OMD in their hearts after the use of If You Leave in the climactic final scene of the 1986 classic Pretty in Pink. It’s a track that’s also greatly appreciated here in Camden in an evening of old hits interspersed with material from their two albums released since their comeback in 2006.
Of the newer tracks Metroland, Dresden and Kissing the Machine (the last co-written with ex-Kraftwerk member Karl Bartos, the band with the greatest influence on OMD) are most impressive. Although everything they play is well received (despite the quality not being on a par with their 80s material), and the generous response is mostly due to frontman, Andy McCluskey.
What to say about Andy McCluskey? The man has a boundless energy that belies his 53 years. Rejuvenated by their return, he was leaping, running and unashamedly dad-dancing his way through the evening. Every move is mightily applauded, and his every word of wit is roared at by the adoring 40 and 50-somethings that make up the audience. He’s probably even been forgiven for founding Atomic Kitten.
The synthesiser sounds reverb wonderfully in the Roundhouse, and keyboardist Paul Humphreys takes over vocal duties for two of their biggest hits, Souvenir and Forever (Live and Die), which, alongside Joan of Arc and Maid of Orleans, are what the crowd are here for. The wildest enthusiasm of the night is reserved for the inevitable Enola Gay, sounding as fresh now as it did in 1980. OMD finish with Electricity, McCluskey nostalgically dedicating the song to their 16 year-old selves writing the track in their Merseyside bedrooms. 37 years on, and this band are shining as brightly as ever.
Photos: Lucia Hrdà
For further information and future events visit OMD’s website here.
Watch a live performance of Electricity here: