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Glasvegas - KOKO, London, 15/3/2011

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 20 / 3 / 2011

Glasvegas - KOKO, London, 15/3/2011


Anthony Strutt watches influential 80's electro act Blancmange make a triumphant return to the London stage at the KOKO in Camden after an absence of twenty three years

Blancmange released 'Blanc Burn', their fourth album, earlier this year after a twenty three year gap. 'Blanc Burn' features their original Indian percussionist, Pandit Dinesh, who also plays tonight. Originally formed in 1979 in Harrow, Middlesex, they released one indie EP, then eleven singles, most of which were big hits, one Peel Session in 1982, and four albums including the new one. Tonight they are not joined by Stephen Luscombe, their multi-instrumentalist, as he is ill with heart problems, but his replacement, Graham Henderson, does a fine job, and Stephen is at the gig watching it. The support slot is an 1980's disco called 'Back to the Future', which sets the tone very well, Blancmange come on on time at 9 p.m. and open up with the seventh track from 'Blanc Burn' which is called 'I'm Having a Coffee'. It is the most un-rock 'n' roll track you could ever hear, but it is still catchy and prove the band do live, and rightly so, in the real world. Most of the tracks are announced and the second is from their 1982 first album, 'Happy Families'. It's called 'I Can't Explain'. It is fast moving, with a vocal from singer Neil Arthur that sounds like an angry Roger Daltrey, who also sang a song with that title as did Arthur Lee. All of the them also released that song on their debut album. The next track is the A side of their 1982 first single, 'God's Kitchen', which almost brings the house down with the greetings it receives from the crowd. The band are tonight a three piece, but their sound has no trouble filling the space of the ex-Camden Palace, which they must have played back in the day. 'Drive Me' is again from the new album. The crowd are happy to embrace the new material of which we get a good percentage tonight, as well as the old. 'Don't Tell Me', which was a big bubblegum hit in 1984, has the crowd loyally singing it back to Neil. 'I've Seen the Word' follows, which was the other side of 'God's Kitchen'. For a B side it is very solid material. 'Waves' was a big hit in 1983 and the band show the video for it in the background, and Neil moans about the experience of filming the video afterwards. 'The Western' is another new number. This has a massive sound and is very danceable. 'Probably Nothing Again' is also new and has an Indian vibe to it, as does a lot of their material which made them stick out from the 1980's crowd. 'Living on the Ceiling', which was their biggest hit in 1982, predictably raises the roof. Somewhat faster then the original, it a mix of cool electronics and indian vibes. 'Blind Vision', which was another massive hit in 1983, follows and by now the whole floor is moving. 'Feel Me' follows and on this Neil again sounds like Roger Daltrey. We only get one encore, 'Starfucker', but it has been a great night. Thank you, Blancmange.

Picture Gallery:-
Glasvegas - KOKO, London, 15/3/2011

Glasvegas - KOKO, London, 15/3/2011

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