Reviewer: Iain Sykes
The eighties revival is in full swing. Some pop groups from that decade play in arenas, in front of generations of fans. Mothers, daughters, fathers, sons, all coming together to celebrate the music of that long-past decade. Not this Eighties Triple Bill, though. Judging by the average age of the audience at The Lowry (this reviewer included), this was the original audience that queued round the block for tickets to see these three bands nearly thirty years ago. This audience isn’t here to pay tribute to eighties music. This music has been part of the audience’s lives since the eighties and is still very much current and relevant.
The three bands featured under the Eighties Triple Bill banner all produced some of the eighties most memorable songs which naturally get the audience to their feet and dancing in the aisles as the parade of hits unfolds. Musically, it would be fair to say that any of the groups could easily have headlined the tour, each with their individual sounds. As it is, Go West! take the final spot on stage with a powerful set of rocking pop songs with a few classic cover versions thrown in for good measure. All their big crowd pleasing hits are included in a storming ninety minute set including We Close Our Eyes, King of Wishful Thinking and an acoustic band version of 1984’s Call Me. Go West! are definite crowd pleasers with Peter Cox’s smooth, soulful vocals over a mix of keyboards and guitars, they can do no wrong in the eyes of the audience.
The other two bands that make up this Eighties Triple Bill are also both very adept in grabbing the audience in different ways. Opening act, The Christians, attack their set from the start. Opening with Born Again, they take us through their hits and remind us just how good their funky pop sound is. Hooverville, Forgotten Town and Harvest for the World all take centre stage as Garry Christian and the band prove they are still are still as gritty a pop force today as they were a quarter of a century ago.
The second band on the bill, Hue and Cry take their iconic eighties songs and strip them down to just the two brothers Kane playing their set as a duo with no backing band. The piano and vocal sound works brilliantly as a contrast in styles to the rest of the night and makes The Lowry’s Lyric Theatre feel like a far more intimate space. The smart opener, Labour of Love is swiftly followed by Pat Kane crooning his way through Violently and the rest of their set sounds equally great in this duo format.
It’s tempting to mention, somewhere in this review, the bands’ own self deprecating observations about expanding waistlines and Bruce Willis haircuts but that would be a distraction from the real feeling from the night. Three bands who, while they enjoyed their major successes nearly thirty years ago, still make for a brilliant night of fantastic music.