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E-Werk, Cologne, Germany
11th November 2010
OMD, Mirrors

In the course of supporting their comeback effort ‘History Of Modern’, ORCHSTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK or short OMD paid Germany a little visit and right in time for the start of the carnival season they stopped in Cologne.


Kind of a mysterious wind blows around this rather new British band called MIRRORS. Except for the fact that there’s recently been a single release called ‘Ways To An end’ that struck quite some positive reviews and information about a yet untitled debut album due for 2011 there’s not much further information to be found. MIRRORS are James (synthesizer, voices), Ally (synthesizer, voices), Tate (synthesizer), Josef (electronic drums). /

Music & Performance
The evening started with MIRRORS from Brighton paying homage to KRAFTWERK with their suits, but not with those alone. Analogue synths, drum pads and modern sequencers were the equipment the four guys set out with to present their music. It’s been a poppy, many times naïve, playful and in parts experimental presentation, but always with a lazy coolness. With cool elegance, the band showed their qualities and hit very well with the audience. The uncommon way of singing, you’d rather expect to find with a Brit pop band like FRANZ FERDINAND, made an interesting counterpart to the electronic sounds of the four-piece. The atmospheric show bridged perfectly to the subsequent highlight of the evening. It will be interesting to see how the band’s going to develop, so it’s worth to keep your eyes and ears peeled for them.

Music: 7
Performance: 6
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 6.7 / 10


Talking about OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) means talking about an important representative within the Synth Pop genre. In their early works it was more audibly than with most others that they had been influenced by early pioneers of electronic music KRAFTWERK. With the second album ‘Organisation’ came ‘Enola Gay’, a song that was meant to last, which even more goes for the evergreen ‘Maid of Orleans’ from the third effort ‘Architecture & Morality’. The track led the German charts for over 4 weeks and became their probably most famous song until today. But not always there’s been luck in the land of OMD as is probably with every band around. OMD broke apart in 1996 but surprisingly reunited in 2006 and finally in 2010, also a new album was released with ‘History Of Modern’. /

Music & Performance
Cologne on 11th November is a kind of dangerous place to be if you’re not into all the carnival stuff. But there’s still a reason why the E-Werk attracted so many people which was the cult band OMD, who released their new album ‘History Of Modern’ after 14 years and entered the charts on #4. The time had come around 9 PM. The lights were dimmed and on stage, huge 3D animations of robot heads appeared, moving their lips to the rhythm of the enigmatic intro. Following this intriguing introduction, the band stepped into the spotlights of the brightly illuminated stage and huge LED screens created plays of colours while the uncommonly rocking ‘New Babies, New Toys’ sounded. Andy McCluskey, Paul Humphreys, Malcolm Holmes and Martin Cooper were tapping to the beat of the music and Andy was already bathed in sweat during the opener while treating his bass in a staccato-esque way. Much more electronic it got with the following ‘Messages’ and the rhythmic clapping of the fans supported the “Grand Seigneurs” of British electro pop.

The uncommon piece ‘Bunker Soldiers’ off the ‘Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark’ album became a spine-tingling experience for the fans in combination with the video projections of war images before OMD turned to playing tracks from their poppier phase like ‘(Forever) Live And Die’, sung by Humphreys and commented by Andy with “Be Gentle, It’s Paul”, or ‘She’s Leaving’. Also fans of the absolute classics like ‘Joan Of Arc’ or ‘Maid Of Orleans’ were satisfied (In keeping with the 5th season, everyone was swaying to the waltz beat). You could feel how much verve the elderly gentlemen put into the performance of old and new hits and that had an impact on the audience because the mood was dynamic beyond any description and the fans frequently enjoyed every note with their eyes closed. The band easily managed to convince, may it be with Andy pacing over the stage like a dervish, or with the band creating an ingeniously intimate atmosphere with ‘New Holy Ground’. Many OMD die-hards were going all dewy with that setlist and, as demonstrated by Andy during ‘Talking Loud And Clear’, were close to falling down on their knees in awe, because the selection of songs showed the entire bandwidth of the British guys.

“It’s new, but good!” promised McCluskey and with that announced ‘Sister Mary Says’, the second single off the new album. The song has a long genesis by now, first could unfold its qualities within a live environment and met with enthusiasm. Minutes passed much too quick and with that much of a sweat-driving show, even front man Andy needed to change during ‘Pandora’s Box’ before the band said goodbye to the Cologne audience for now with the smash hit ‘Enola Gay’. Loud encore chants and enthusiastic clapping brought the band back one more time to release their fans into the night with ‘If You Want It’ and their fastest song ‘Electricity’. OMD gave definite proof they’re back and that raises hopes for more great albums and live shows. We’ll be there. Promised!

01. Intro
02. New Babies: New Toys
03. Messages
04. Tesla Girls
05. Bunker Soldiers
06. History Of Modern (Part 1)
07. (Forever) Live And Die
08. She's Leaving
09. Souvenir
10. Joan Of Arc
11. Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc) 
12. New Holy Ground
13. Green
14. Talking Loud And Clear
15. So In Love
16. Locomotion
17. Sister Mary Says
18. Pandora's Box
19. Sailing On The Seven Seas
20. Enola Gay
21. If You Want It
22. Electricity

Music: 9
Performance: 8
Light: 8
Total: 8.3 / 10

All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( / /

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