Review: Erasure, Corn Exchange

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Erasure

Corn Exchange

***

A FLOCK of raised eyebrows remains the customarily dismissive response to Erasure, a duo who have found themselves marginalised in the rush to rediscover seminal 80s synth pop.

To cut to the quick, Erasure are exceptional. Andy Bell, looking positively regal in a sparkling ruby red jacket and a black Roman galea, jigs and twirls with the vigour of a teenager, clearly revelling in the ear-piercing applause that greets Erasure’s return to the stage. At the onset of Blue Savannah, one of a hatful of songs that sends the crowd into deafening raptures, Bell breaks into a pirouette, offering a perfect summation of the joy with which both Erasure and the crowd embrace one another.

So, what’s gone wrong? Gag reflexes are given some unwelcome exercise by support act Frankmusik’s preamble of tacky Lanzarote karaoke. Belching out a succession of hand-wringing “homages” to middle of the road pop (Kings Of Leon’s Sex On Fire and Eric Prydz’s Call On Me) would be offensive enough were it not for the fact that he sees fit to molest classics from the likes of Daft Punk and Eurhythmics in the same breath. This shameless attempt to endear himself to the crowd isn’t altogether unsuccessful, but it’s worth noting that Frankmusik happens to be the chap that Erasure asked to produce their latest album, Tomorrow’s World. A sobering thought.

All that pales in comparison to a far greater concern. Not only is the gig a sell-out but it looks oversubscribed. People struggle to manoeuvre in and out of the crowd as they ferry pints to and fro, and the lack of space is suffocating, if not unsafe. Evidence of this found itself in two scuffles, one of which breaks out into a full-on fist fight. That’s not to say that a few incidents should colour what for many people would have been an unforgettable evening, but for too many people this would have been a distracting and uncomfortable experience.