Erasure performing The Violet Flame Tour at The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on Saturday 15th November 2014
Images and review by Kevin Cooper
Whilst only being a two man operation, Erasure really know how to kick up a huge cloud of glittery dust and throw one hell of a party. It started with a bang as raucous lead singer, Andy Bell and synth wizard Vince Clarke took to the stage, to a rapturous full house to kick the party off with Oh L’Amour.
Bell was his usual vibrant self, sashaying and strutting about the stage clad in sparkly, skin tight pants and jacket, a vibrant shimmering T shirt, shiny oversized top hat and shades; a sharp contrast to Clarke’s reserve and all business demeanour.
Transforming The Royal Concert Hall into a pulsating nightclub replete with impressive flashing lights, strobes and whizzing spotlights, frontman Bell was utterly fabulous. He is a colourful Pride parade, a breath-taking circus and a racy burlesque show all rolled into one, and he is the reason why Erasure attract such uninhibited, bold, individualistic fans.
Flanked by two gorgeous back-up singers sporting matching afro puffs and shimmery silver pants, Bell playfully warned the crowd that the band was going to treat them to some “club tracks”, to which he was met with a huge roar.
With hits like Star, Victim Of Love, A Little Respect and Ships Of Fools, it was evident why Clarke’s knack for smart lyrics and disco inspired synth-pop has put him at the head of the class of electronics acts for decades. As he quietly and demurely stands at the back of the stage twisting knobs and plunking keys, it is clear that he is the unsung hero responsible for Erasure’s thumping beats and creativity.
With all its fun dance beats and Bell’s showmanship, Erasure cannot be dismissed as fluff. Their lyrics are still as poignant, optimistic and inspiring as they were decades ago, and this is all down to their talented writing partnership which started nearly 30 years ago, when Clarke teamed up with singer Bell, the only interested party to respond to his wants ad in Melody Maker.
As at all parties no seat was occupied as each row and some of the aisles were taken over by non-stop dancing by everyone in attendance, including the staff. It was infectious fun as they threw in some impressive new material from their 16th album release, The Violet Flame. The fans danced and bopped along to the unfamiliar material, with the album’s lead-off single, Elevation being the obvious standout number, whilst Reason and Sacred also sounded as though they would fit nicely into any modern club playlist.
There was the undeniable pairing of massive hits Always and Sometimes which rounded off the evening’s encore and sent fans home sweaty, smiling and brimming with the happiness that Bell unleashes every time he is centre stage. Saturday’s display was an excellent snapshot of the unusual yet engaging pairing that is the tight lipped wallflower of Clarke and the stunning, over the top, vivacious presence of Andy Bell. He is to vocals what Liberace was to the grand piano.
Their 80’s heyday may have come and gone, but it’s great to have the duo still doing their thing.