Organ Auction Time: OMD To Tour UK With John Foxx + The Maths As Opening Act – Monk Melts Down!

Left: OMD in Atlanta ca. 2011 © Post-Punk Monk Right: John Foxx + The Maths ca. 2012 © Mike Cooper

Left: OMD in Atlanta ca. 2011 © Post-Punk Monk    Right: John Foxx + The Maths ca. 2012 © Mike Cooper

I found out about this pairing last week. In the Monk’s Universe, there is a hierarchy. Sure sure. Bowie/Roxy/Eno/Cale are at the apex, but the highest tier apart from that holds a handful of [mostly English] bands whom make up the bulk of my Core Collection. Bands I’ve been collecting for more than 30 years. Bands to whom the top tier were a primary influence. OMD is one such band.

I had the fortune to hear their debut single [probably when Dindisc picked it up and reissued it] and hopped aboard their train from the very beginning. There have been ups and downs, but when they re-convened several years ago, they set about making some new music that was largely a wonderful attempt to re-jig their artistic sails that had been trimmed in the direction of commercial pop for a ten year chunk beginning in the mid eighties. Sure, they finally sold hits in America, but the cost was high. When the four piece lineup fissured, that left singer Andy McCluskey the sole member who soldiered on under the OMD name for a trio of albums in the 90s. The first one sold like hotcakes, but diminishing returns quickly grounded the next two before he threw in the towel in 1996.

A German TV show asked the band if they would appear on TV there in 2007 and with any bad blood dispelled over the years, they enjoyed it enough to give it one more shot. Concerts and a new album followed. The new album, while salted with a handful of iffy tracks, was a largely successful attempt to get the band back on track that was their best in a very long time. They managed to tour the album “History Of Modern” widely and even hit The States for a pair of tours in 2011, unlike their peers who may have also reformed, but were not able to cross the big drink successfully. The group have a new album in the chute named “English Electric.” And they are preparing to tour the UK this Spring. With one of the few opening acts I’d easily stand up OMD to see, if I had to!

That’s because John Foxx has long been my favorite artist. He alone was the only musician I followed smart enough to sense the direction the wind was blowing in the Eighties and do the right thing and sit it out! After his 1985 album “In Mysterious Ways,” he took a 12 year break from music where he earned his keep in other ways. Teaching. Design. When the time was right, he re-emerged with a pair of albums in 1997 and hasn’t stopped moving yet. 31 releases later [!!] he is hitting a career peak with his most compelling music in an almost 40 year career with his new group, John Foxx + The Maths. The Maths are analog synth genius Benge who is making the best sounding music today with the machines of yesterday. In other words, The Fresh New Sound Of Yesterday® personified!

That OMD are nervy enough to get this band to open for them says much for their confidence in “English Electric.” JF+TM have opened for others but I can’t imagine anything but the sort of rout that sees headliners slinking offstage to lick their wounds. But this is all academic. The tour dates are as follows below:

OMD/JOHN FOXX + THE MATHS ‘English Electric’ UK tour 2013

April 28 – Margate Winter Gardens
April 29 – Birmingham Symphony Hall
May 1 – Nottingham Royal Centre
May 2 – Ipswich Regent Theatre
May 3 – London Roundhouse
May 5 – Bristol Colston Hall
May 6 – Oxford New Theatre
May 8 – Sheffield City Hall
May 9 – Leeds Academy
May 10 – Manchester Academy
May 12 – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
May 13 – Gateshead Sage
May 14 – Liverpool Empire

UK readers would be advised to buy your tickets here, now. As for this Monk, he’ll be huddling in his cell in the southeast United States. My wife, bless her, was online within minutes of seeing this information trying to scrape together a itinerary that would see us crossing the Big Pond for my first time and finally seeing John Foxx live. But the co$ts were in the $3500-$5000 range at a time when such amounts of money are ludicrously out of question. The last year has seen costs rise and income fall and the strain on the budget is such that I can’t even buy the occasional CD/record, much less drop serious scratch on a trip overseas. It’s particularly bad because my 50th birthday is coming up this year and for the last several years my wife has said that if John Foxx is playing anywhere at that time of the year, we need to go.

John Foxx + The Maths are playing in May with one of the few bands fit to share a stage with them and that pairing is as insanely compelling as it could be, if you were in my shoes. But barring a surprise Lotto win, it’s just not possible on my end. Particularly since I don’t gamble!

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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16 Responses to Organ Auction Time: OMD To Tour UK With John Foxx + The Maths As Opening Act – Monk Melts Down!

  1. VersionCrazy says:

    US Dates now: – fingers crossed JF&TM will be part of the package… you never know.


  2. Echorich says:

    I really can’t think of a better line up at the moment! Especially with the more experimental feel that English Electric seems to have in comparison to History of Modern.
    Nice to see both bands have taken the night off on 30 April, my 50th birthday and one which will see me in thoroughly gluttonous mode in Madrid. I return from Lisbon on 5 May, but don’t think I can extend for a few extra days in London/Oxford to see them as I have a no changes whatsoever ticket.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – Sonnuva…!!! Being laid over in Heathrow and knowing that just hours/miles away [how appropriate!] there would be JF+TH opening for OMD would be a new kind of torture for me. I loved Madrid even though I was a vegetarian at the time and jamon is everywhere in Madrid. My favorite food there was at La Biotika, a completely against the grain macrobiotic restaurant that’s still doing business: Now I’m vegan and travel in Spain just got much harder! I see the Fnac at Calle de Preciados 28 is still there! Indulge in some record geek nostalgia and visit a still functioning honest-to-gosh music superstore. I have never seen as many Colin Vearncombe/Black releases in my life. He must have had quite a following in Spain. Good finds there in Fnac, but the indie hole in the walls were few and far between in Madrid at the time [1999]. I had better luck finding wanted vinyl at flea markets! Ah yes. Back when I had money to travel with.


  3. Echorich says:

    As a matter of fact I spent hours in FNAC Barcelona back in the fall of 2010. It was not as fantastic an experience of the one on the Champ d’Elyeese back in 2002, but then neither was HMV on Oxford street last time I was there. The big record stores are just empty vaults now with wide aisles and no patrons.
    As for food in Spain, I too have a bit of an issue. I have not eaten red meat for some 15 yrs now. Barcelona and Sitges were fine as I could dine on seafood to my heart’s content, but I have already been scoping out dining arrangements in Madrid and Lisbon.
    I’m thinking of heading to DC for the OMD show as they seem to not be planning anything further south. A weekend in the Capitol would be a nice summer distraction.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – Well, should miracles occur, and JF+TM tour the US with OMD, we will be in DC too and should hook up! Even before the big box stores were slaughtered by file sharing, in the 90s I witnesses the gruesome spectacle of pop culture tchotchkes taking up valuable floor space that should have been devoted to music! The last time I was in a Tower [DC, by the way in 2005] it was still kind of impressive and packed with desirables.


  4. JT says:

    You only turn fifty once [if you’re lucky], and an OMD/JFTM lineup took 35+ years to happen; who knows if it will happen again. Scrape together the cash, bite the bullet, go to the UK.
    Get your airfare money’s worth… hit two [three?] of the gigs!


    • postpunkmonk says:

      JT – That’s what my wife posited. but our financials are supremely strained and I can’t in good conscience begin to approach that. Besides, I’ve seen OMD, I want a JF+TM show where they will do a full set! But it is a hell of a pair-up, unquestionably.


  5. I will cross my fingers that JF will come with OMD to the US … that would be BRAIN MELTDOWN territory … but if it happens, I’m going to one of those shows. Heck, I’m already planning to see OMD regardless of the opening act this year, not going to miss this chance.

    Though I would have dearly loved to have seem the OMD+JF show in me old stomping grounds of Manchester … or indeed anywhere on that UK tour …


  6. Nerts to that! If Foxx and Friends (OUCH) come to DC then it’s you, me, Echo and Bunnypartners!


  7. Gavin says:

    I know this is old news,but I attended the Roundhouse gig in London and it was superb.After years of seeing Foxx shows,particularly with Louis Gordon,where a lot of it was “mimed”(only another synth player can usually spot this!) it was refreshing to see so much played live for a change.OMD were as brilliant as in the 80s when I first saw them as a teenager.I was in art college doing electronic music and Andy had been in my class a few years previously,plus my brother was a friend of drummer Mal,so there was always an OMD connection for me.
    Years later in London I was introduced to Foxx and helped him out with some art/photography exhibitions,became friendly with his son John (aka artist Karborn) and saw quite a bit of him over a few years,a lovely man.I remember the thrill of seeing The Quiet Man suit and shoes close up,discussing with John Foxx the strange mythology that has built up around it over the deacdes through his musical and visual work.


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