Flock Of Seagulls / Rodney Cromwell
Cross Inn, London - 3 April 2022
all seemed a bit surreal frankly"
Little did I
know back in 1982, when I bought A Flock of Seagulls' self-titled
debut album, that I'd be here, 40 years later, in a pub in south
London on a Sunday evening, bopping away with a huge smile on my
face to the same band (well, kinda). But I'm so glad I was.
from ironically dour synthpopist Rodney
Cromwell, an act I'd been following since its inception.
The live lineup personal appears to have shifted a little over the
past few years, but resulting tonight in excellent arrangements of
the (solo-recorded work) for Richard Salt's live guitar and Martin J
Langthorne on a second set of keyboards. It was punchy stuff.
Happy Robot label founder Adam Creswell) delivered some of his dryly
entertaining banter between songs. "Get my five albums before I
get too drunk and I loose my card machine."
[L-R]: Rodney Cromwell
off his latest album Memory Box (which is the best thing
he's released so far) sounds terrific live. Halfway through the set
and Black Dog sees Cromwell on guitar, and you could see him
winning over the packed audience, most of whom had probably never
heard him before tonight.
Echoes of Republic-era
New Order on one or two songs expose some of Cromwell's influences.
By the time we get to the final track, new single Comrades,
the crowd were well warmed up and dancing along. Not the best song
to finish on, but the whole performance went down well with whoops
of approval at the end.
Television, The Winter Palace, Memory Box, Black Dog, Waiting
Room, Opus Three, Comrades
wondered what would someone who remembers A
Flock Of Seagulls from height of their fame, but
wasn't a fan, walking past this unassuming south London pub on
a Sunday night, saw and heard what was happening inside.
Blimey, A Flock Of Seagulls are playing in a pub in New Cross!
It all seemed a bit surreal frankly.
The capacity (circa 250) crowd was more diverse than expected.
Plenty of younger people and women. Not just wall-to-wall, old
bald fat blokes - which was refreshing to see.
Apparently drummer Kevin Rankin had recently done his back in,
and from my vantage point right at the very front I could see
him struggling a couple of times during the set. Not that it
noticeably affected his delivery any, with plenty of stick
twirls thrown in to entertain the kids.
Photos [L-R]: A Flock Of Seagulls
Lead guitarist Gord Deppe had just a hint of the
famous 'Flock mop'. He kept complaining about weather not
being like it is in Florida. (Duh, this is London in
April, despite global warming!)
I still forget just how motorik Telecommunication
is, especially live.
The crowd response on The More You Live, The More You
Love genuinely seemed to impress the band. When all
the multi-layered parts of those classics are performed
live today, all the key elements are just as distinctive,
collectively adding to the still impressive impact. You
really appreciate just how good those original songwriters
Several songs were given the extended version
treatment and all versions were excellent.
The extended 12" remixes from back in the day were equally
effective then and the long, expansive versions performed live
today really work.
The joyful energy in such a compact space was
tangible. Taking a moment to turn around to look back into the
audience, it was obvious the band was being greeted by lots of
smiles, positivity and love in the room.
Photos [L-R]: A Flock Of Seagulls
Lead vocalist Mike Score may be the only
remaining original member when the band tours live, and
his voice is clearly well beyond its prime, but it
doesn't really matter that much.
Honestly, the songs are just so bloody good. Although I
do still confuse them for each other from time to time.
Guitarist Deppe said he's toured around the world with
them for five years and has never heard the audience
sing the guitar parts before. It was that kind of
you're dedicated, patient enough and the band keeps
going, maybe you too can see one of your favourite
bands from the 1980s playing in a pub as well one
Setlist: Telecommunication, The More You
Live, The More You Love, Modern Love Is Automatic,
Hearts on Fire, Space Age Love Song, Wishing (If I Had
a Photograph of You), I Ran Encore: Messages,
Space Age Love Song
Review + Photos: Rob Dyer