OMD at Sinners Day, Hasselt, 20 November 2016
“I never thought I’d see PIL and Sisters of Mercy fans dancing to cheesy 80s pop songs....” smiled a bemused Andy McCluskey reacting to the amazing reception afforded OMD at the Sinners Day Festival, Hasselt.
It had been a wildcard of a festival for them, uncharted waters for a synthpop band, but long before Enola Gay had opened up the 55 minute set, the mosh pit had shut down as the crowd closed ranks, pushed forward and fell silent in respectful anticipation.
As a two piece band, the stage potentially looked in danger of swallowing them up, but this fear was never going to become reality with Andy’s dancing covering the entire surface area of the stage with every twist and turn.
We were treated to a selection of greatest hits and also an updated version of Radio Waves which name checked Putin and Trump and was particularly appreciated by the contingent of travelling OMD fans on the front row.
Andy urged us not to be afraid of old men with synthesizers, as he spun into post 2010 songs such as Metroland and History of Modern. Joan of Arc passed without incident, no fluffing lines there, the usual offending song, but so as not to disappoint us, a small hiccup occurred in Locomotion , cue expletive, then the order, “You sing it!”
Onstage, the overall sound was a little too bass heavy with a fair bit of vibration, a constant thudding on subsequent video playback. I actually saw Paul’s keyboard shaking at one point.
It was a change to hear So in Love, something denied UK audiences, but I have to confess we missed Martin and his saxophone at this point and of course we wanted real drums on Maid of Orleans ; a drum machine can never re- produce the real surround sound and dramatic effect. Despite this, Maid of Orleans and Andy’s dancing secured over two minutes of rapturous applause, from punks, Goths, new wavers and various other unidentifiable entities in the arena audience.
A hugely successful and well received set finished with Electricity. Cue huge applause. “This is why we love Belguim” beamed Andy.