Concert review by JD Alvarez
In 1986 John Hughes made a teen romantic comedy-drama film about teenage love and social cliques. The movie featured Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy and Jon Cryer. These three would be household names in the years to come. On the flip side, the movie soundtrack was simply spectacular. It was a formula Hughes would use in other hit films later in the decade. As a result, this soundtrack made certain bands more mainstream and synonymous with the 80’s. Bands like the Smiths, Psychedelic Furs, Echo and the Bunnymen, New Order and Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, or better known by the acronym OMD to their faithful fans.
Since then, these bands have gone their separate ways, and come back to the latest emergence of 80’s reunion tours. Some simply headlining their own tours because of their fan base. One band that has the love and admiration of their fans all these years later is OMD.
It’s difficult to explain what genre OMD is if you haven’t followed them. Their own website classifies them as Electronic, Alternative and Experimental. Others have tagged them as new-wave or synth-pop. Inasmuch as you would like to label them, all you have to do is hear their music, you would agree with their fans. There are few words or phrases that can describe them other than saying they’re OMD.
OMD was formed in 1978, but they found their name in the 80’s; launched by Molly’s smile and red locks. The front-men are Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys. Together they have put together a string of hits that has an almost angelic sound to it. The original line-up reunited in 2005, and have been recording and touring ever since. This day they hit Los Angeles, California at Club Nokia. This was a perfect spot for their show. This venue is newer by most standards. It’s sleek and has a dynamic acoustic sound to it, perfect for OMD. Following up from their performance at the House of Blues, Anaheim, the boys from Liverpool were ready to set the house on fire.
The band came out wanting to feature some of their new music, but truthfully, people were just so happy to see them. It really didn’t matter what else they played or attempted to feature. It didn’t take long for the crowd to get excited as McCluskey got them screaming to Tesla Girls. The band sounded fresh and tight. McCluskey and Humphreys were dynamic, their vocals were sharp and crisp. McCluskey remains the showman he always was, he hasn’t lost a step. He engaged the crowd with his dancing that is part artistry, some aspects resemble a little bit of that Zack de la Rocha squirmy dance; and what can only be compared to a partial seizure. All of which, the crowd loved.
The crowd was in awe when Paul Humphreys came out from behind his keyboard to sing Forever Live and Die. They shortly followed with their mega-hit If You Leave. They also played some lesser known songs that the only their faithful fans would recognize, or so I thought. Songs like Messages, Souvenir, Joan of Arc and Maid of Orleans. Oddly enough, it seemed like everyone knew the words as they sang along. Most with smiles and childlike angst, while others with tears of joy.
As I looked around Club Nokia, I noticed the crowd ranged from teens to fans in their 60’s, and older. Depending on the song, it was amazing to see how many people of all walks of life were fixed on McCluskey and Humphreys. The dynamic duo continuously thanked the crowd throughout the show for their immense applause and shouts or appreciation. Andy told everyone to put on their dancing shoes as they segwayed into some of their other hits like So In Love, Locomotion, Dreaming and Sailing on the Seven Seas.
They ended the set with their other mega-hit Enola Gay. It didn’t take long for the crowd to convince the band to come back out for an encore.
They gave the crowd what they wanted. They ended the show with Secret and crowd favorite Electricity. Both McCluskey and Humphreys were genuinely moved by the applause from the crowd. They mentioned that it may be a while, but they would come back to Los Angeles. It was a great night for those who went to Club Nokia on October 7, 2011.
For more information on OMD, visit them at their sites at:
OMD features: Andy McCluskey, Paul Humphreys, Martin Cooper and Malcolm Holmes