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!
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