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OMD AT Omoeba, Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Who is still listening to OMD, Orchestral Manoeuvres In the Dark in 2011? Many people apparently, since they just sold out two shows at the Music Box this week in LA, and their Amoeba show on Thursday night was packed, not Lykke-Li-packed, but there was a crowd. A crowd of middle-aged generation Xs, a little different from the crowd of young hipsters I generally encounter at concerts these days.

A guy, who said he was producing a VH1 reunion show, came on stage to introduce the band and that was the first time I had seen someone doing a little presentation before an Amoeba show. Holding OMD’s most recent album, ‘History of Modern’, the one with that bright orange cover, he basically said they were the real thing, ‘the original guys’ who had inspired Vince Clarke of Depeche Mode to compose on synth. And, as a matter of fact, it was the first time OMD was performing in LA since they had opened for… Depeche Mode at the Rose Bowl in 1988.

Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys came on stage, happy and jovial, announcing right away they were going to do 7 songs, while traveling through OMD history, starting with their 1979 hit ‘Electricity’, with that almost annoying high-pitched electrified notes running in your head like some crazy electronic toy. I must have heard this tune tons of time in the 80s, and it still give me the same mixed feeling of brilliant execution and cheesiness,…I know, many people think it’s a masterpiece, but I have never been a fan of this new-wave-synth-pop that seemed so futuristic at the time.

They only did two new songs ‘History of Modern’, and ‘Sister Marie Says’ which weirdly started and ended with an operatic female voice singing an aria-choral. ‘I want to save your souls,… with the help of my sister!’ said Andy McCluskey before singing this strange number about a prophetic mystic. But the crowd was cheering almost equally after the old songs and the new ones.

If Paul Humphreys was staying very quietly behind his synth, Andy McCluskey was alternating between playing his bass guitar and doing his quite special dance numbers, beating his chest, moving his arms as if he was swimming, but totally living into his songs,… he jokingly said we should come to one of the shows if we wanted more of this bad dancing.

And since they hadn’t performed in LA for 23 years, it was expected to hear a lot of their most famous hits, like  the pulsating ‘Souvenir’, or rather the Moby remix version as they said, the very loved ‘If you leave’, and ‘Enola Gay’, with that irritating 80s synth again!

It looks like OMD, the UK iconic band, is back, they have reached that legendary place in the music of the 80s and they still manage to play amazingly close to their original sound. On Thursday night, they were enjoying themselves, you could tell, and they didn’t need my approval to play that damn synth again!




History of Modern
If you leave
Maid of Orleans
Sister Mary says
Enola Gay

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