In Brighton we’re spoilt for choice with hard working promoters putting great gigs on in the city all year round, so it’s good to see that Atom Promotions are doing similar great work promoting decent gigs over in nearby Worthing.
Journalist, author, lecturer and DJ Simon Price plays a selection of classic Eighties tunes as the venue fills up, before support act Yumi And The Weather takes to the stage. Yumi, aka Ruby Taylor plays guitar and sings aided by some minimal samples and beats. The songs are enjoyable if a little similar in tempo, with atmospheric tones amid layers of harmony. A good support act to ready the crowd for the main event.
Tonight however, we’ve come to celebrate an evening of shiny pop. Back in the Eighties ABC, alongside Heaven 17 and The Human League led the vanguard of Sheffield bands who made an impact on the UK charts with an inventive style of synth pop.
Their 1982 debut album “The Lexicon Of Love” was produced by Trevor Horn, a man who knew how to craft a pop song himself, and with the lamé-suited Martin Fry at the helm ABC proved themselves as worthy pop peacocks.
The band, made up of drums, bass, lead guitar, a keyboard player, another keyboard player also doubling up on saxophone and a female percussionist take the stage to a rapturous reception. Martin Fry strolls to the front of the stage, impeccably dressed in a dark grey three piece suit and the band launch into “Show Me”, the first song off “The Lexicon Of Love”.
From there, it’s a party atmosphere from start to finish as the crowd sing along and dance, responding enthusiastically whenever Martin Fry asks if we’re having a good time.
The band are really tight and faithfully recreate the ABC groove, with the keyboard players, guitarist and percussionist all providing backing vocals. More importantly, Martin Fry’s voice had lost none of its power, his distinctive tones sounding exactly like they did on the album.
Particularly highlights are of course the more well known songs, although there was very little filler on their debut album anyway. “Poison Arrow (Part One)” and “All Of My Heart” going down particularly well, the largely middle aged crowd rolling back the years as they sing and dance. There’s a raucous singalong when they play “Tears Are Not Enough”, their debut 1981 single and again for “When Smokey Sings”, their nod of respect to one of Motown’s best artist and songwriter.
Cheers go up over the introduction to “The Look Of Love” and Martin Fry clearly looks like he’s enjoying himself as he launches into this great pop nugget.
They encore with “Poison Arrow (Part Two)” and that’s the end of an almost two hour entertaining set.
Martin Fry knows how to put on a great show and is the perfect front man for this shameless exercise in celebrating Eighties pop nostalgia.