Sunday, November 13, 2016

Wolfgang Flur at The Flapper, Birmingham

November 13th 2016
Supported by: Rusty Egan, Eric Stein, Le Cliché, Duke St Workshop

At the young age of 11 I bought my first ever single “Kraftwerk – The Robots” in 1978 and remained hooked ever since.

After seeing Kraftwerk live twice, interviewing Karl Bartos some 10 years ago and a no-show by Wolfgang Fluer at the 2015 Kraftwerk Conference in Birmingham, I jumped at the chance to see one of my musical heroes.

The evening started off with Lancashire based act ‘Duke St. Workshop’, who were really good and quite melodic and seeing an electronic Simmons drumkit on stage was a bonus. The duos performance would have benefited from some decent lighting but was nonetheless quite enjoyable. 

Only 15 minutes later one man project ‘Le Cliché’ was on and their videoscreen-based show was highly energetic and interesting and I was wondering if Le Cliché really acquired all rights to the many ads that were featured during the performance. 

That thought may be beside the point though. While not all tracks were different enough for my spoiled ears they were still all good and well put together, too. 

DJ and synthpop legend Rusty Egan supported by gifted vocalist Eric Stein rocked the house only minutes after Le Cliché had finished his set.

The set featured some great Depeche Mode and Yazoo classics but consisted mainly of tracks from Rusty’s album: ‘Welcome to the dancefloor’, which sounded amazing.

Ex – Kraftwerk member Wolfgang Flur looked very well for someone of the age of 69 as he started his DJ set sandwiched between two Egan sets.

The ‘Musik Soldat’ (Music Soldier) slides featured mostly old and likely private stills from Flur’s time in Kraftwerk.

I would have loved to see Wolfgang play some drums and perhaps add a live synthesist to his set as watching ‘an old guy’ playing some tunes off two laptops, even if some of the tracks were from his latest album ‘Eloquence’, is really boring and not all that interesting.

He brought his own video filming woman to the gig who took it upon herself to tell fans off for using their own phones for filming a bit of their hero – who the fu** did she think she is? 

This gig happened in a rather small room in the bowels of a heavy metal pub – a long way off from venues Fluer’s contemporaries such as OMD or The Human League are playing and it isn’t as if the recordings of a DJ set from someone who’d left the world’s best known electronic music band in the late 1980s really sell any less simply because some fans upload some shaky footage onto youtube.

Pricewise the evening was a steal and quite enjoyable 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Erasure – From Moscow to Mars fan party

04.11.2016 The Asylum, Birmingham

Sometimes the stars align and magic happens. After failing to secure one of only 300 tickets for a very special event, I had given up on attending a special Erasure celebration with ‘Fans only’, with the band in attendance, a meet & greet in person, a q&a with my heroes, an acoustic set that included a brand-new track from the new Erasure album that’s due to be released in May 2017.

Just mere hours before the event I had logged on to one of the many Erasure related facebook pages and saw a fan posting that he had arrived in Birmingham and was let down by a fellow Erasure fan and that he still had a spare ticket that he would sell for face value.

I couldn’t believe my luck as I met him the next morning, bought the ticket and was now one of only 300 very happy and privileged fans.

This was an amazing day with the best people anyone could ever hope to meet. Kind, open hearted, amazing fellow fans who were just as excited to be at the ‘From Moscow to Mars’ party that commemorated 31 years of Erasure and a new boxset out later this month, consisting of 13 discs in total and called ‘From Moscow to Mars’, named after a line in the Erasure track ‘Star’.

I was in the first group to go and meet Vince & Andy in person and to have a professional picture taken for a mere £2 extra. Unlike the year before when I cried as I met Andy Bell in person, I was a bit more composed this time around but meeting Vince Clarke was the biggest thing that ever happened to me for I hold him solely responsible for my becoming a musician.

In fact, I presented my last two albums to Vince & Andy as a ‘thank you’ (or maybe as punishment, lol), had a card signed and my picture taken with my absolute heroes.

When Vince then said: ‘Enjoy the party’ and shook my hand again I was in 7th heaven where I remained for the day and perhaps the foreseeable future.

(Usually) never-smiling Vince was smiling with his fans and even told a joke on stage and we were all treated like family. The other awesome guy that I owe my thanks to is Richard who runs the Erasure website, newsletter, organised stuff pertaining to this event etc. – he is just as loved by the fans as Erasure themselves – and rightly so.

Of course Neil Francis was there, too and Shelter as well as Destination who all performed at last year’s ’30 years of Erasure’ party. This time they showed up as ‘regular’ fans, which is what they are of course. Was just awesome to be among all those mega-talented people.

This evening will stay with me for a long, long time. 

see a short video HERE