I had expected to be able to chill out for a bit on Saturday morning, but Electric Dreams isn’t like Resistanz or Infest where the bands don’t start for the day until four o’clock in the afternoon! There’s an afternoon music session starting at about half past twelve on the Saturday and Sunday, so by the time we’d gone and had our breakfast, it was pretty much time to get going again. When we walked into the Skyline Pavilion, they were doing a silent disco showing of Live Aid from 1985, which was a nice touch!
Bands I didn’t see on day 2: Altered Images and Hue & Cry, who were apparently turning the Reds bar into a wee piece of Scotland for the evening. Under any other circumstances, I would have liked to go see both of these bands (especially seeing as Hue & Cry were on Now! #10 – no, I’m not starting another bucket list, but I do like to see those songs live when I have the chance!). Unfortunately, because the Centre Stage arena was very popular on the Saturday night due to Marc Almond playing – it took us twenty minutes to get through the queue when the arena first opened – I wasn’t going to risk dashing between venues and not being able to get back in again.
Bands I did see on day 2:
Some artists who were big in the ’80s are so opposed to being seen as retro ’80s acts that they wouldn’t touch ’80s revival festivals with a barge pole. Some artists embrace the whole thing to the extent that they show up on stage wearing the same ridiculous ’80s ‘costume’ as half the people in the crowd. Hazell Dean is…one of the latter. The set opened with a cover of Shalamar’s A Night To Remember, which pretty much set the tone.
What I did really appreciate, as a music geek, was that Hazell kept coming out with fun facts about all the songs she was singing. I was surprised that she played Wherever I Go (Whatever I Do) second, as I’d always thought of that as her biggest hit, but apparently both that one and Who’s Leaving Who (played third) got to number four in the charts! I also didn’t know that Turn It Into Love was her last Top of the Pops appearance, or that Searchin’ was her first hit. It was a highly educational set in that respect. She also did some Abba covers, which went down well with the crowd.
What I’ve found this weekend is that the stage managers at Electric Dreams don’t really know how to deal with bands trying to do encores. Hazell Dean’s was great though, as when she was told she could go on for an encore, she announced over the microphone, ‘okay, press the button’. Geth and I had been taking the piss out of the karaoke-style ‘sing along to a backing track’ performance up until then, but we did appreciate the complete lack of bones being made about it at that point!
The Art Of Noise
The Art Of Noise were advertised as doing a DJ set, but as Geth and I are used to industrial performances (which often involve dudes standing still and doing nothing except pressing buttons on laptops), it seemed more like a live performance to us. The band (collective?) have had fingers in many pies since the ’70s, and so the set included a mishmash of pretty much all the most famous tracks in which they’ve been involved. Highlights for me included Close To The Edit, the footage of Max Headroom (one of the many awesome visuals that accompanied the music), Owner Of A Lonely Heart, Video Killed The Radio Star, and the mashup of the Prince and Tom Jones versions of Kiss.
Johnny Hates Jazz
Johnny Hates Jazz apparently released a new album in 2013, and so they were mostly playing stuff off that, which was actually really good! One of those albums I need to check out at some point. They did do the hits as well, though, and I especially loved I Don’t Want To Be A Hero (another Now! #10 classic!) and Shattered Dreams, which was the closing song.
There was then a break between the afternoon session and the evening session, so we were able to go get some food and investigate what was going on with the DJ sets in Bar Rosso (answer: not much worth listening to).
Blancmange were the first band of the evening session, and they were great – brilliant energy, really enjoyed it. Don’t Tell Me and Living On The Ceiling were predictably the highlights, but I also enjoyed Feel Me, which included interpolations of Pull Up To The Bumper and Pop Musik. Awesome set.
I took about ten pictures of this set, but they’re all so blurry you can’t actually tell it’s even a gig. As such, I won’t post one. I do have some standards.
There were a lot of bands I was really excited about seeing this weekend, but Marc Almond was probably the biggest draw. He did a brilliant mixture of Soft Cell classics – Bedsitter and Torch both appeared early – and solo stuff (The Days Of Pearly Spencer and Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart were highlights for me, the latter partly because I love the Gene Pitney original so much and it’s a lovely tribute). Towards the end, he got into the real crowd-pleasers like Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go? and Say Hello, Wave Goodbye, before finishing with a cover of T.Rex’s Hot Love, which seems to be a bit of a theme at the moment.
Incidentally, a lot of the ‘I’m wearing an ’80s costume’ types showed up to this performance either carrying or wearing inflatable pink flamingoes. I’m not sure how I feel about that, and I think I’ll probably end up doing a whole separate post on the subject.
When I was a little girl, I loved watching Fun House, which ran through the late ’80s and early ’90s and involved a lot of daft stuff like people chucking gunge at each other and other things that kids find hilarious. It was presented by Pat Sharp, who at the time wore his hair in an infamously bad mullet, except that no-one called it a mullet back then. Nowadays, he’s made a new career out of ’80s nostalgia, and is always presenting countdown shows on the classic music channels like Vintage TV and Now! ’80s. As such, it’s not really a surprise that he showed up at Electric Dreams to do a DJ set.
At the start, he promised the crowd that although he’d mainly be playing electro stuff, he’d also be taking a few ‘sideswipes’. Geth and I only managed about four songs of the set, partly because we were tired but mainly because Geth couldn’t stand it for very long, but it definitely seemed as though there were just as many ‘sideswipes’ as actual electro songs. The first one was Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You, which was terrible for three reasons:
- He could at least have chosen a Christmas song from the ’80s! Last Christmas would have been a good shout, but there are so many options!
- They had cheesy fake snow coming down from the ceiling.
- As soon as the song finished, Pat restarted it again so that he had more time for taking selfies with the crowd. Double Mariah! Nobody needs that, not even at Christmas time!
I think that was the straw that broke the camel’s back as far as Geth was concerned, but then as we were leaving, out came Sweet Caroline. Just dreadful. Especially as it was absolutely pissing it down when we left, so we had to hurry through the pouring rain with no umbrellas or hoods and Sweet Caroline merrily earworming its way into our brains. Not a great end to the day.