Barely 5 months since I since I last saw them, here I am again on the 2018 leg of the Unfurnished Rooms tour. Yes, they were that good last time.
The good news is that Neil mixed up the set list and changed a couple of the tunes (alas my Twitter request for ‘That’s Love That It Is’ never made it!). The opener ‘The Fall’ was dedicated to Mark E. Smith of The Fall who died in January. Neil had given Mark a demo of their 1st EP (1980) at a gig and said “It would be really nice if you listened to it”. He duly did and wrote a long letter back to Neil which helped inspire the band. And they played a brand-new ditty called ‘In Your Room’ which was pretty damn good, glad to see they haven’t been resting on their laurels.
Prior to the gig, Neil made a guest appearance for the support chap Jez Bernholz. Even that didn’t save the act! He basically had everything pre-programmed and stood pressing buttons, twiddling knobs (Roland SP-404 SX for the nerds) and sang. Yes kids you can all do this at home with some software! The bass was mixed so loud the entire place was thumping and bottles of water were shuffling across the stage with no sign of a magician 😊. Quite frankly I was glad when it was all over.
I could really say – just look at my previous Blancmange blog as that pretty much covers it.
Neil was once again in his trademark dark suit, this time with nice white trainers. The guitarist was barefoot, well better that than him wearing his decidedly uncool Birkenstocks on stage! As usual a good tight performance with banter in-between songs. Neil certainly knows how to get his dedicated crowd going, singing enthusiastically along to all the classics (especially the Nah Nah bit of ‘Living on the Ceiling’).
As has become somewhat of a trademark, he once again nabbed a mobile from an unsuspecting lady (videoing him of course) and spent the rest of the show playing with it occasionally and finally gave it back during the encore. He also, spends a great amount of time playing with his earplugs and in-ear monitor. Frequently the right ear plug is out and the monitor is either in his pocket or he’s holding it in his left hand. Interesting viewing!
A really good evenings synth-pop entertainment – thank you Blancmange. £25 a bargain night out!!
SETLIST (and links to Videos on my YouTube channel)
- The Fall – (Semi Detached 2015)
- Unfurnished Rooms – (Unfurnished Rooms 2017)
- We Are the Chemicals – (Unfurnished Rooms 2017)
- Game Above My Head – (Mange Tout 1984)
- In Your Room – New song
- What’s the Time? – (Unfurnished Rooms 2017)
- Last Night (I Dreamt I Had a Job) – (Commuter 23 2016)
- Waves – (Happy Families 1982)
- Gratitude – (Unfurnished Rooms 2017)
- Anna Dine – (Unfurnished Rooms 2017)
- Running Thin – (Happy Families 1982)
- I Can’t Explain – (Happy Families 1982)
- Old Friends – (Unfurnished Rooms 2017)
- Living on the Ceiling – (Happy Families 1982)
- Feel Me – (Happy Families 1982)
- Blind Vision – (Mange Tout 1984)
- The Day Before You Came – (Mange Tout 1984)
- Don’t Tell Me – (Mange Tout 198)
To cap it all, Neil did a signing after the gig and my step daughter was so excited to get her photo taken meet him and get her CD signed. She was bopping along merrily all night. She’s gonna spread the word to all her fellow teachers – Go watch Blancmange! Oh and I got a signed LP, which is now resting proudly next to my other signed LPs in the stairwell.
Marko – 10 Mar 2018