Visage at The Garage
It’s Friday night in Islington and those arriving at The Garage could be forgiven for imagining they have stepped back in time to a scene from The Blitz nightclub in its 80s heyday. The new romantics are out en masse, adorned with fascinators and eyeliner, and are assembling patiently, in eager anticipation of Visage’s second London gig this year. Applause and excited screams erupt as Steve Strange steps onto the stage, dressed outlandishly as ever, and the show begins with a couple of numbers from the band’s latest album Hearts and Knives, which was released in May.
The mood is one of hype and decadence as the new wave band perform some of their biggest hits The Damned Don’t Cry and Mind of a Toy, followed by a thrilling instrumental by Steve Barnacle (bass), Robin Simon (guitar), Logan Sky (keyboard) and Johnny Marter (drums) as Strange briefly retires from the stage before returning, dressed in camouflage, for Diaries of a Madman – the band’s 2007 track about the war in Iraq.
The performance is accompanied by Bowie-esque visuals and the atmosphere is electric as the band finally performs their most memorable hit Fade to Grey, co-written by Midge Ure, who was an original member before leaving to found Ultravox.
While the catchy new material on Hearts and Knives has some appeal, the general feeling among fans at the venue is one of nostalgia. Over the past 25 years Visage have never managed to produce anything with the same originality that made their first couple of albums such a success, and while they are still very much on form performance-wise, there is a sense that many in the audience are really there to reminisce rather than to hear new material. Nonetheless, this does not stop the gig being thoroughly enjoyable as a celebration one of the most exciting and influential music scenes of the past few decades.
For further information and future events visit Visage’s website here.
Watch the video for The Damned Don’t Cry here: