Tuesday, April 16, 2013

OMD concert review: Hollywood

photo by Tom Oxley
On Monday night, British synth-pop pioneer Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark put on a vibrant 95-minute set at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood.

Having just released the solid new album English Electric earlier this month, the group unveiled a good dose of that material live.

The sold out show opened with the sounds of computerized talk snippets that are interspersed between the new songs, then led into the regal synths of 7-minute long "Metroland."

Singer/bassist Andy McCluskey was in fine voice (despite withstanding a sandstorm at Coachella over the weekend) and a total ball of energy throughout the evening. He bounced around the stage far more than your average 53-year-old performer.

Although a quarter of the setlist was in identical order as OMD's Fonda concert two years ago (I would've preferred a little more variety), enthusiastic fans still danced up a storm. McCluskey said "Night Cafe" was inspired by art works and the ominous "Our System" featured soundbytes from the Voyager 1 space shuttle. 

Plenty of 1980s modern rock radio hits, such as "If You Leave," "Secret," "Locomotion," "So in Love" and "Tesla Girls" helped keep the proceedings on a high note.

Diamond Rings - the electro-pop guise of young Canadian musician John O' Regan - was also impressive during a warm up set, where he was backed by a three-piece band. With a deep baritone, O' Regan recalled Adam Lambert at times and fared best when he had harmony support from the other guys. Highlights included a pair of tunes from last year's Free Dimensional album: the perky, Erasure-esque "All the Time" and infectious singalong "Day & Night."

OMD performs in Mexico City on Thursday before returning to the Coachella Festival in Indio, Calif. on Sunday. A UK follows. 

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