Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Thomas Dolby Birmingham Academy 2 Monday 8th October 2007
Well, 23 years after he last appeared in Birmingham and 14 years after he quit the music biz to focus on all manner of tech stuff, the original mad scientist of synthpop is back. The reason? To set the record straight! He's not an '80's artist at all, he's a 70's, 80's, 90's (just a bit mind) and noughties artist too. Yay. As a fan I was rather pissed that he gave up music to focus on some shit called the 'interweb' back in the early 90's. 'Interweb' sminterweb scoffed I. It'll never take off. And lo, it hasn't...which is why he's really back. Anyway, this was a pretty cool return to form. I'd seen some You Tube clips and wasn't 100% convinced, but live it all came together rather well. As a man who knows how to get the party started Mr D hit us with the hip hop classic Airwaves, getting the crowd throwing all kinds of mad crazy shapes...I jest, of course. It's actually a ragga dancehall classic. All joking aside (yes, those were 'jokes') Airwaves was as hauntingly beautiful as it was back in the day (26 years ago?). Like St Julian a few months ago, Mr D scattered his greatest hits set with all kinds of amusing tales of free software malfunctions and KFED related (the ex-Mr Brittany Spurts) legal wranglings. I was only expecting Thom and his collection of laptops, but midway through he was joined by a brass section (hired at the last minute after his US posse were turned away at Heathrow...welcome to England...now fuck off 'cos you've not filled in the right form...bomb carrying nutjob with the right form? Come right in). I might be in a minority of one but I rather liked his jazz funk opus Aliens Ate My Buick, so Airhead and Keys To My Ferrari, which I really didn't expect to hear, came as a unexpectedly groovy treat. The best thing of all was the news that Le Dolby has seen sense and moved back from the States after 20 years. He's started making music too. Judging by new track Your Karma Hit My Dogma he's probably going down the jazz funk route again, a wise choice after the slightly US MOR-ish final album Astronauts and Heretics. All in all an impressive gig. Finally got to (briefly) meet Russ L too (as well as hooking up again...I'm so street aren't I...with Ken and Jes). Russ L deserves a big shout out as he's bravely tackling Going Deaf For A Fortnight for the second year in a row. As I type these very words he's probably on his way to watch a death metal band called Monkey Spunk in some backstreet boozer. Sounds good...I might go myself (and before anyone makes any sarky comments, no I do not like primate jizz...they're a Bulgarian Thrash Disco act...dreadful).