Thursday, 7 June 2012

Life of Live - Soft Cell

Recently there has been a rush of early 80s bands reforming and releasing new lps. However back in 2001 this was more of a rarity, so it was a bit of a thrill when Soft Cell announced a new lp and tour. I always thought that unlike a lot of their contemporaries , Soft Cell didn't outstay their welcome in fact broke up too soon. There was almost an element of self destruction about the final lp Last Night in Sodom , which in places seemed as un chart friendly as they could make it. Even the first single Soul Inside had the duo trashing their history by trashing their memorabilia.

In a recent documentary both Dave Ball and Marc Almond talked about cutting their noses off to spite their faces. For me The Art of Falling Apart is still one of the best electronic lps going.

The lp Cruelty Without Beauty would have made a good follow up to Art of Falling Apart, with the songs marrying a sense of sleaze and danger to some great pop tunes. Somehow they had managed to update their sound whilst also staying true to what made them so good in the first place.

The concert at Brixton academy (at least I think it was there) was a pure celebration. Marc Almond had honed his stage craft as years of touring solo, his voice often the but of jokes in the early days was strong and Dave Ball did what he did best which was to stand motionless behind the keyboard. The new songs fitted right on in with the old ones. The set list covered all the singles plus some of the great lp tracks.

The audience was split into 3 main types. The children of the 80s all slightly heavier , often wearing small glasses were out in number (I felt right at home) then there were the skin heads of all ages of which there were rather a lot. Finally there were the flamboyant hard core fans. I remember a pair of blokes in full Pete Burns make up, elaborate feather headdresses and the backsides cut out of their trousers. What was odd that ,fearing for the state of their head gear, the pair decided to wait in the big foyer area therefore missing he concert ( the high price of fashion)

I've posted one of the tracks from Cruelty Without Beauty, which if you like that kind of thing is worth getting as it kind of slipped under the radar when it first came out. You can get it here

2 comments:

  1. I love Cruelty WIthout Beauty...you are right in that it is pure Soft Cell and it is also pure 2001.
    I have been lucky to catch Marc live in NYC quite a lot over the 90's as well as the early 00's. He is always in great voice and good cheer...funny as hell between songs. In NYC the audience is mostly hardcore 80's girls and gay men of a full range of age. Marc seems to thrive with this audience..of course!

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  2. shame it seems like it was a one off

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