Edinburgh based trio PARTY FEARS THREE played a rare London show Upstairs At The Garage and through the medium of reinterpretation, they delivered an electro friendly set steeped in history and invention.
Hot on the heels of a triumphant ULTRAVOX concert at Hammersmith Apollo the night before, the evening was particularly special in that it featured cameo appearances.
These came from none other than ULTRAVOX drummer WARREN CANN plus his pal PETER GODWIN who himself has various ULTRAVOX connections; his first solo single ‘Torch Songs For The Heroine’ was produced by MIDGE URE while his band METRO supported ULTRAVOX at Rusty Egan’s ‘People’s Palace Valentines Ball’ at The Rainbow in 1981.
Also on the bill that night were a bunch of Basildon upstarts named DEPECHE MODE! Incidentally, DAVID BOWIE covered METRO’s ‘Criminal World’ on his multi-million selling ‘Let’s Dance’ album.
But opening proceedings were Nottingham’s THE DISTANCE with their brand of “melodic, catchy electronic pop that can make you smile, dance, cry and just have a jolly old time”. They ended with a version of ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ and in a surreal moment that was to be one of several during the evening, Will, the lead singer of NEW ORDER tribute band RE:ORDER walked in!! This was not to be the first song from the famed Factory quartet to be aired in the night’s celebration of Synth Britannia with ‘Temptation’ and ‘True Faith’ both figuring later on.
Mike Lyden, Steve Adam and Don Thomson opened their set with ‘Planet Earth’ before heading straight into THE MOBILES’ almost forgotten Top10 ‘Drowning in Berlin’. One thing that was very apparent with Lyden’s voice was his great versatility in tackling songs made famous by both men and women. The segue of ‘Open Your Heart’ (as a tribute to late producer Martin Rushent) with ‘Love Is A Stranger’ demonstrated this as well as a powerful rendition of ‘Don’t Go’.
With their common love of innovative music, it wasn’t just obvious hits that featured in the set. One of the highlights came with another segue featuring dynamic takes of JAPAN’s ‘European Son’ and SIMPLE MINDS ‘I Travel’, both evergreen with their energy in their Moroder-led odyssey but suitably re-engineered for the 21st Century.
The moment arrived for WARREN CANN and PETER GODWIN to make up a PARTY FEARS FIVE and it was to perform Godwin’s cult favourite from 1982 ‘Images Of Heaven’ which was listed in TEC’s 45 Lost Songs Of The 45RPM Era.
Cann played Simmons drums on the original track and even demoed it himself for a possible single after he left ULTRAVOX in 1986 only for Chrysalis Records to pass on the opportunity to release it. So with the surreal nature of what was being witnessed by an appreciative audience, what resulted was a spirited performance of this fantastic lost electronic ditty with Godwin in fine voice despire some wonky guitar.
Interesting concepts dictated several of the songs which showcased the thought behind the arrangements.
So for example, what would have happened if Bobby O had remained producer of PET SHOP BOYS? Well, PF3’s version of ‘It’s A Sin’ answered that conundrum while Billy Mackenzie joining Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe for a sing-song probably would have resulted in the HI-NRG ‘Always On My Mind’ restyling of ‘Party Fears Two’. However, it was the arrangements that didn’t veer too much from the originals like ‘Shout’, ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ and ‘The Thin Wall’ that seemed to be the crowd pleasers, such is the lot of a combo performing other people’s songs.
And it’s being able witness moments like this and the classic ULTRAVOX line-up performing a 27 song live set on their ‘Brilliant’ tour that makes being a electronic music enthusiast still so thrilling and exciting.
With thanks to Steve Adam
PETER GODWIN’s new project NUEVO have released their debut album ‘Sunset Rise’ which is available now as a download from http://www.nuevomusic.com/
Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Richard Price
7th October 2012