Including tonight, this makes it four times I have seen Blancmange live. That is the same amount of times I have seen Bowie. A high status indeed.
Blancmange are probably best known for their 80’s hit, Living on the Ceiling but if that is all you know about them you should take a second look. Some 80’s electronic based bands like Depeche Mode and New Order can still fill stadiums but I truly believe that Blancmange have a catalogue of tracks that are equally as good and it is an injustice that they do not attract larger audiences to play the big venues.
The support was Jez Bernholtz. This was more than just a support act. It was art. It felt like I had gone to the Tate Modern and was watching a video installation. He had a video playing in the background while he mixed his music up. It was very experimental and many of the audience were not expecting or enjoying it. Several did walk out during his set. But as Bowie says ‘If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in’. Jez is certainly pushing those boundaries.
Blancmange, tonight were a trio and did a range of songs from the very old, (including a rare outing for I would), to the very new. They have just released a new album and this tour is promoting that. Neil is also working on another project ‘Near Future’ with Jez so that will be an interesting partnership. Those lucky enough to attend the shows can purchase a promo CD of their work.
Blancmange played a mix of old and new tracks. Old tracks included UltraViolent, I can’t explain, Waves, Don’t tell me and of course the big hits of Blind Vision, Living on the Ceilingand my personal favourite Feel Me. New tracks were mainly from the new album and the last album and included Radio Therapy, Star Fucker, The Fall, Paddington, Bloody Hell Fire, Judge Mental, Red shift, and getting the whole audience to sing along to (last night) I dreamt I had a job.
It’s not just that Blancmange are genius with the keyboard. Neil is also a very funny and entertaining guy. His stage presence and his interaction with the audience step this up a few more notches. He joked about finding a 20p and sharing it with the audience. He joked about the lack of clapping during the songs. He really seemed to appreciate his audience.
After the show, Neil comes out to meet people, sign merchandise and pose for photos. The merchandise is well thought out and there is something for everyone. 12” White vinyl, 10” Mavis, CDs, Cups, T-shirts and even a happy families playing cards! Their artwork on their albums are also excellent and worth investing in.
I always had a sweet tooth but Blancmange is definitely my favourite dessert!