Monday, 21 June 2010

Live Review: Blondie call in on Bournemouth

With bands such as AC/DC and Aerosmith returning to headline Download Festival last weekend and shoulder pads and denim back in the shops it seems that the 80s will always be in fashion. And tonight’s crowd at the O2 Academy couldn’t be more thrilled. Although there are a few bright young things present the majority are Blondie fans from the first time around, ready to get in touch with their youth.

Up first is Little Fish from Oxford. Although the set has its moments, the tracks mostly just blur into one and fail to win much reaction from the crowd. Vocalist Juju’s powerful voice and over enthusiastic stare are a little off putting and when she begins to have what appears to be psychotic breakdown during the aptly named ‘I’m Crazy’, the audience begin to scan the room for the nearest exit. However, the 80s feel of their music and the disco lighting help to set the mood for Debbie Harry and co.

Unsurprisingly, Miss Harry looks remarkable for a woman eligible for a free bus pass but tonight chooses to complete her look with sunglasses and a blonde wig. The band open with an unspectacular track taken from the new album and it isn’t until Harry utters “Hello Bournemouth, this is Blondie calling” and ‘Hanging On The Telephone’ kicks in that the room really comes to life. It’s crystal clear that most have turned up to hear the classics and so the first half of the set, although still full of Blondie magic, doesn’t really grab the crowd’s attention. And with Harry drinking a cup of tea and doing some slightly cringe-worthy dancing on stage, the whole thing gets off to a disappointing start.

However that is all blown out of the water once Harry removes her sunglasses and ‘Atomic’ comes crashing in. They begin to fire out hit after hit and each member of the band gets their moment to shine, with incredible guitar, bass, drum and keyboard solos littered throughout the set. 65 year old Harry still manages to pull off the ‘hip-hop’ element of Rapture, and ‘You’re Too Hot’ proves that she still oozes sex appeal. By the time ‘One Way Or Another’ comes around, she no longer needs to sing, with the crowd taking over vocalist duties for the chorus. A three song encore is the perfect end to the evening. ‘Picture This’ is followed by an impressive cover of Taio Cruz’s ‘Break You’re Heart’ which surprisingly, tonight’s middle aged crowd know all the words to. After hit single ‘Heart Of Glass’ Blondie leave the crowd with some of that late 70s/ early 80s nostalgia and hopefully both hips intact.

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