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Wednesday 27 March 2024

Review: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark @ Brighton Dome Concert Hall

Forty-five years on from their debut single, Electricity - writes Beat the Clock proprietor, Stuart Avis - OMD's trail of ups and downs to their Bauhaus Staircase, as featured last night at Brighton Dome, has been a journey where the peaks render the troughs almost negligible and forgotten. 
Credit: Andy Sturmey

This was Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark's seventh visit to The Dome, arguably the city's most historic venue. 

It can boast the premier live performance by Pink Floyd of their work that would eventually become Dark Side of the Moon, an album that went on to do alright for itself, while next month sees the 50th anniversary of ABBA winning the Eurovision Song Contest, a band that also went on to do alright for themselves. 

It's our Cavern Club, or perhaps, more appropriately in this case, our Eric's, but hoovered more often. 

The band's two central members, Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphries, along with Martin Cooper, who would be grossly underestimated as a mere sideman, have now clocked up more time working together, since their triumphant return in 2007, than their original flight which dropped an endless stream of hook-laden pop masterclasses throughout the 1980s.

However, this was no mere trip down memory lane. Highlights from their latest offering, Bauhaus Staircase, hold their own alongside those singles that play a nostalgic trump card. 

The immediate impression as they launch into their opener, Anthropocene, is the band are here for a good time as much as the audience. Thirty-nine dates into the tour and there are zero signs of fatigue. Nothing is (ahem) telegraphed in! 

McCluskey's crazed geography teacher dancing is still present and correct. On paper it should be ridiculous but, on stage, it's borderline hypnotic. 

One can't help wonder if he does it in the kitchen when a song he loves comes on the wireless! 

The energy never falters. Even the evening's slower offerings such as the 1981 hits, Souvenir and Maid of Orleans, create a palpable wave of rapture flowing through the sold out venue. This is pure unadulterated joy. 

Unsurprisingly the biggest reaction is received by 1980's mega-hit, Enola Gay. A song tackling the subject of the bomb dropping on Hiroshima shouldn't be so catchy and so damn danceable, it doesn't even have a chorus, but then OMD have always been the antithesis of pop stars, which is probably why they are amongst the most interesting. 

Forty-five years on and, naturally, that debut single, Electricity, closes the show bringing us full circle whilst wearing out the soles of our shoes. 

Are OMD welcome back for an eighth visit to The Dome? Oh. My. Deity. Yes!

by: Stuart Avis


Art on the Streets, a documentary co-created by University of Brighton design historian Dr. Harriet Atkinson will be shown as part of Tate Britain's upcoming exhibition, Artists International – The First Decade. 

Hove-bound Blancmange's story is one of two distinct chapters. In the early 80s they infused the emergent synth-pop scene with oblique lyrics, wry British humour and occasionally tabla-tinged sonics, an unlikely mix which saw them soar into the Top 10 singles chart.

The NSPCC is calling on people across Sussex to sign up to the fifth Angel's Abseil, taking place on Sunday, 23rd June 2024.
Credit: Brighton Book Festival

The Brighton Book Festival, which runs for five-days in June, will be held at Brighton University for the second year running.

A multi-million-pound project to restore the colonnade and balcony of the Grade II listed Theatre Royal Brighton reaches completion this week. 
Credit Jo Charlesworth

With over fifty speakers, Charleston's annual summer highlight Festival of the Garden brings together garden designers, horticulturalists, artists, activists, ecologists, writers and musicians to disentangle our complex relationship with the land. 
Credit: Clive Flint

Create Music, in partnership with West Sussex Music, have been appointed by Arts Council England to deliver music education across Sussex as part of the newly formed Sussex Music Hub.

Comedian Paul Whitehouse is to reprise his West End starring role at Brighton Dome, in December, as the lovable Grandad in the hit show Only Fools and Horses The Musical.

A new musical version of Dodie Smith's classic book 101 Dalmatians will visit Theatre Royal Brighton for Christmas 2024, from Tuesday 17th December 2024 to Sunday 5th January 2025, as part of a major new UK Tour.
Credit Claire Leach

Circus performers arrived in Brighton to promote Brighton Festival's Carnesky's Showwomxn Sideshow Spectacular, an upcoming outdoor event which celebrates the forgotten women of circus and the city's history of seaside variety.

LGBTQ+ historian Alf Le Flohic unearths forgotten stories of a gay B&B, a zoo bar, and a legendary farm disco in a talk for Chichester Pride. 
Credit Conrad Shawcross

New images of a solo exhibition by British artist and sculptor Conrad Shawcross at Glyndebourne Festival 2024 have been released. The exhibition opened on the first day of the annual summer opera festival, which marks its 90th anniversary in 2024. 
Credit: Tony Briggs

Cop-turned-comedian Alfie Moore, star of his hit BBC Radio 4 comedy series, It's a Fair Cop, brings his stand-up tour show A Face for Radio to Hove's The Old Market, this June.

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