The immediate, striking thought at seeing Hurts take to the stage and open with the breathtaking ‘Unspoken’: this is why people loved Spandau Ballet. The new-romantic haircuts and suits, the theatricality of the performance and stylisation of the stage setting and full force of crashing synth and cymbals make for a wholly self-indulgent but altogether brilliant experience.
There are elements of Kraftwerk, Joy Division, New Order, Eurythmics, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Il Divo. Sounds like hell? I thought so too. But it works emphatically. Theo Hutchcraft is an accomplished frontman; dominating the stage, swinging his mic and reeling in the crowd with nostalgic stories about Longsight (in Manchester where he tells us ‘Wonderful Life’ was written) and jokes about how the South is boring (“I’m sorry, you’re all lovely really, but still boring”). There is a sense of homecoming, not only for the band but for Manchester’s flagging music scene only recently revived and dragged out of the Britpop mire. Electro-pop is back and with a vengeance.