OMD To Play ‘Dazzle Ship’ Show @ Museum of Liverpool

Andy McCluskey with his original 'drummer' Winston behind plexiglas® at the Museum of Liverpool

Andy McCluskey with his original ‘drummer’ Winston behind plexiglas® at the Museum of Liverpool

OMD are beginning to manifest again after the crisis that saw drummer Malcolm Holmes sidelined after heart failure at the band’s 2013 Toronto show. While Malcolm is recuperating, obviously McCluskey has ‘the itch’ and he’s decided to scratch it in the best possible way with a one-off OMD show at the Museum of Liverpool on Saturday, November 1st. This show couldn’t be more timely because an actual ‘dazzle ship’ is in dry dock at the Merseyside Maritime Museum next to the Museum of Liverpool. The band, encompassing McCluskey, Paul Humphreys, and Martin Cooper will be playing a selection of hits, tracks from “Dazzle Ships” and the teaser of “one track that has never been performed live.” I would pay serious money to hear them perform “International,” myself! That song now towers over the rest of “Dazzle Ships” [and possibly their entire career] for me, but what of Mr. Holmes? Who will be the drummer?

edmund-gardner-dazzle-paintThe answer here is rather brilliant and evocative. For this show only, OMD will be using their first drummer, Winston, for the gig! For those who do no know, Winston is the name given to the reel-to-reel deck the band used in lieu of an actual drummer when beginning their career. Moreover, Winston has been on view at the Museum Of Liverpool, in their Wonderous Place gallery which looks at artifacts from the city’s vibrant art and music scene, so the drummer has been in the venue for years, now. Waiting patiently.

The ticket prices have not been announced yet, but all proceeds will be going to the Museum. Keep your eyes peeled here for further details as they develop. This will be a great way for OMD to give back to the city that gave them their start and for OMD fans who can attend, watch out Kraftwerk! OMD are getting a piece of that museum show action as well. In addition, the lucky ticket holders will also have the ability to finally hear “Dazzle Ships, Parts I, IV, V, VI” which have never been released. No word if they will be played before the show or if this will be some sort of download for the lucky few. I was ambivalent about OMD continuing sans Malcolm Holmes, but this is a very elegant way to have the band dip their toes in the waters without him. I should have expected as much from a band as intelligent as OMD.

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6 Responses to OMD To Play ‘Dazzle Ship’ Show @ Museum of Liverpool

  1. Echorich says:

    Oh how I wish I could attend this. Dazzle Ships is, by far (and in accordance with my need to be “different”), my favorite OMD album. To hear OMD with Winston is an amazing opportunity, as much as I am a fan of Malcolm Holmes. I hope he is doing well.
    To hear the unreleased “movements of Dazzle Ships, whether played live or as an overture to the show is a gift and may just mean a re-release including these missing parts.
    Finally, and hopefully, this means OMD is not done as a unit – as was posited after Mr. Holmes illness.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – Well, I was the only one positing a tabled OMD as a response to Holmes’ illness. The band were playing mum. I perceive that they don’t want to give up just yet, even as Malcolm may never drum with them again. Especially after the closure of McCluskey + Humphreys’ marriages. Never underestimate the pull of “the old gang” when a relationship fails – just ask Mr. Ferry. This is a tricky maneuver that manages the neat trick of feeling right to me, nonetheless. The thing is, this has to be a one-off to retain its potency. To have OMD touring with Winston in tow with the three of them would feel off.


      • Echorich says:

        I’ll agree with you there Monk, it needs to be a one off. I would also not want to diminish the import of the added Dazzle Ships movements being played/performed. I just hope they get released as this is one of the few times where performing them to increase the value of releasing makes sense to me.


  2. JT says:

    The reel of tape on Winston in the photos is not from the same era as when Winston was in use – that’s a 1990s reel!

    Dazzle Ships is a deeply underrated record, and maybe my favorite by OMD, although I also find it to be a rather blatant pastiche of Kraftwerk’s Radio-Activity. Or, call at an homage, if you prefer. Listen to the style of the songs and their order on both records and you’ll find a virtually identical format of when the pop songs occur and when the experimental pieces occur. And even OMD titles like (ahem) “Radio Waves” reek of Kraftwerk… but this should all come as no surprise since OMD has always worn their deserved love for Kraftwerk on their sleeves in many other ways too.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      JT – Thanks for spotting the ringer in the photo! Surprisingly, I only heard “Radio-Activity” around the period of “Dazzle Ships.” Until my friend Tom showed me his copy, I had not even seen nor heard of that album! [oh, we were so young and innocent] Having heard it, its influence is that pronounced. The difference being that OMD were not afraid to take what was a fairly bloodless Kraftwerk album and really lay their cards on the table with it as the framework. Kraftwerk could have never packed a wallop like “International” does; in spades. I vacillate between “Dazzle Ships” and “Organisation” as my favorite OMD albums. “Dazzle Ships” is more consistent, but it is, as you say, highly redolent of a single Kraftwerk album. At least their pastiche is, to my ears, miles better than the original. “Organisation” has a clinker or two, but the Joy Division influenced heavy techno gothic vibe is my go-to OMD. Like I said, I didn’t hear “Radio-Activity” until some time in 1983. It might have been a few months before “Dazzle Ships” hit the stores. But I was shocked at how unfinished it sounded compared to the albums that bookended it. “Ralf + Florian,” “Autobahn,” and especially “Trans-Europe Express” would form a cohesive development arc, if “Radio-Activity” weren’t there to throw a spanner in the works. To my ears, it sounds as if it should have come between “Kraftwerk 2” and “Ralf + Florian.” That said, the material from “Radio-Activity” was a huge thrill in the setlists of the recent Kraftwerk shows I caught at Moogfest. Just hearing them perform songs with no dance beats was a rarefied experience. Like I stated, the Katalog residencies have made for much better Kraftwerk shows in the here and now.


    • Echorich says:

      I seem to remember the Radio-Activity comparisons were a plenty when Dazzle Ships was released and part of the reason critics were so split on whether or not it was a good album. I agree with Monk that OMD took the basic tenants or framework to another sonic level and sense of abandon – one which had to be pretty jarring to those OMD fans looking for a darker, more introspective OMD sound. I have to admit that This Is Helena is currently the ringtone on my iPhone…yes, I know I am perverse…


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