Marc Almond

Reflex, Gianpula, Malta - 18 March 2014

"The place was absolutely packed to the rafters"

I have always loved Malta, as far back as I can remember. This is mainly due to the fact that, as a family, we used to go year after year. Things haven't changed much, but I tend to go by myself these days, but generally in the hot summer months. On this occasion, however, Marc Almond happened to be playing there in the somewhat cooler month of March, but I wasn't going to miss out just because of this. Okay, it was a little chilly at times, and I even had to wear a hoody from time to time, but this is Malta we're talking about, and a certain great, 80's pop icon.

Marc was here to play at Gianpula, at an 80's nightclub called Reflex, which happened to be celebrating ten years of its existence. I have been to the club before, but not to see any artist; on those occasions, there were DJ's blasting out 80's hits, cheesy and non-cheesy - one DJ would play the hits of Wham, Bros, Bananrama and all the other 80's big-hitters, and the other, the one I was there for, would play Visage, Depeche Mode, Soft Cell, Ultravox, Gary Numan... you get the picture! And what a night it is. Very similar, in fact, to our own Electric Dreams (London) and Only After Dark (Birmingham), but with a bit more glamour. There are flashing lights, video screens and palm trees, which remind me of Rio era Duran Duran.

[Marc Almond]   [Reflex Club]    [Marc Almond]

On this night in question, I did wonder what sort of crowd Marc would attract. Would people know him? Did people care? Would they even know the songs?

I shouldn't have worried, as the place was absolutely packed to the rafters. I would say the majority of the crowd were in their 40's which, I guess, you would expect, and yes, they did know all the words! He took to the stage around midnight, and with no band in place - just backing tapes - it was kind of obvious that he would not perform any songs from his current collaboration with John Harle - the excellent The Tyburn Tree (Dark London), but instead play the 'hits'. He kicked off with the brilliant Tears Run Rings... why wasn't this a much bigger hit? I was in my element, as I think this is my favourite Almond tune. The hits kept on coming, in the shape of... Say Hello, Wave Goodbye, Torch, What, Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart, Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go and Bedsitter. And at around 1.15am, it was all over.

He was in fine voice, and seemed to love every minute of his performance. And to think at one point, we might never have seen another Almond live experience, after his awful motorcyle accident. Thankfully, he seems to have made a full recovery and I, for one, am very pleased about that. 8/10

Setlist: Tears Run Rings, Say Hello, Wave Goodbye, Torch, What, Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart, Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go, Bedsitter

Review+Photos: John Elliott