The Rescue Rooms in Nottingham was the venue tonight for the Blancmange tour to promote the ‘Happy Families Too‘ album. A 2013 re-recording of their debut album using today’s technology. They’ve already issued an album of new songs in the shape of 2011’s ‘Blanc Burn’ since they reformed. It’s still sad to hear that Stephen Luscombe isn’t well enough to perform live himself but the band around the bearded Neil Arthur gave the audience what they wanted, a damn good time.
The show began with the single ‘Lose Your Love‘ all zipped up to date. The electronics sounds were lush throughout the night and Neil’s voice was as strong as ever. Their last album ‘Blanc Burn‘ was plundered heavily too tonight including ‘By The Bus Stop At Woolies‘, ‘Drive Me‘ and ‘Probably Nothing‘ which were just as richly received as the classics. For me the highlights came in the hardly heard ‘Running Thin‘ and the vastly underrated b-side song ‘Games Above My Head‘. Both were given fresh legs tonight belying their relative obscurities. Add to this Neil’s northern banter with the crowd which went down extremely well with all present.
Then we came to the playing of ‘Happy Families‘ which was played in chronological order, with Neil remarking halfway through “we’re on the flip side now“. So ‘I Can’t Explain‘ roared out of the speakers instantly this had people moving in beat with the sound. The criminally ignored single ‘Feel Me‘ just added to the fun feeling within the room. ‘Wasted‘ was another highlight for me with its special effects made by Adam Fuest wrapped around the core of the song. The heavyweights of ‘Living On The Ceiling‘ and ‘Waves‘ both benefited from the new interpretations. It was like adding double cream on your favourite puddings, rich and luxurious.
The instrumental ‘Sad Day‘ that saw Neil play guitar too has progressed from its infancy on the famous Some Bizzare compilation album. The best vocal display of the night was kept for ‘Cruel‘ and was complimented by some great guitar licks from David Rhodes, who played on the original album. The set was wrapped up by ‘Gods Kitchen‘ that had us bad dancers showing off our moves even. The encore was ‘Blind Vision‘ which was an absolute storming version. The night seemed to float away so quickly, but I know I’d seen a show where the musicians were comfortable with the music and the crowd responded accordingly. Like on the previous tour Neil Arthur made himself available for photographs and autographs or even to say just a few words. Well what a top man, top band and making it a top night indeed in Nottingham.