The eighties came alive and were on display at Canalside Thursday evening as two bands from the British New Wave era, Wang Chung and The Fixx performed to a decent but late arriving crowd. As I waited for Wang Chung to hit the stage it left me wondering if we would get a crowd at all with how small it was at that point. However, by the end of Wang Chung’s enjoyable set the front of the stage area filled in quite nicely.
Wang Chung took the stage precisely at 6:30 P.M., led by singer, guitarist Jack Hues and bassist Nick Feldman. Wang Chung’s set started off with some newer material before delving into their first-ever U.S. single “Don’t Let Go”, which was sung by Feldman. Wang Chung also featured Josh Thompson on drums along with Tio Banks on vintage-sounding synthesizer.
The band played minor hit “To Live and Die In LA”, the title track to the film of the same name. It was during “Dance Hall Days” where the crowd started to fill in the front of stage area.
As the hour long set culminated, Hues announced they had one song left and that by a process of elimination you can figure out what it was. With that Wang Chung broke out their highest charting and best known single “Everybody Have Fun Tonight”, and the crowd was living up to the song’s name as many were seen with smiles on their faces.
As singer Cy Curnin and The Fixx took the stage they played the first five tracks off their 2012 release Beautiful Friction. Beautiful Friction also marked the return of the classic lineup of the band which also included guitarist Jamie West-Oram, bassist Dan K. Brown, keyboardist Rupert Greenall, and drummer Adam Woods.
Curnin still seems in command on stage as he moved about freely. One thing about Curnin is he really gets into the performance and doesn’t just stand on stage going through any motions. He sounded in strong voice as the concert was one of the better sounding ones down at Canalside.
It wasn’t to those familiar riffs of “One Thing Leads To Another” where the crowd really came to life. This is the point of the show where the band started to play all their best known songs.
Other standouts included “Stand Or Fall” the band’s first charting single from their debut album, 1982s Shuttered Room. “Built For The Future” and the top 20 “Saved By Zero” closed out the main set.
The band came back out for a three song encore highlighted by popular B-side “Deeper And Deeper” and ending with one of the band’s most engaging songs “Red Skies.”
It had been some five years or so since each band last played in the area. Bands of this calibre who were widely known decades before, showed that they still have a following and that they still can deliver the goods. Thursday evening we received a brief glimpse from each band what they can still bring to the table as they gave us something to remember from the past as well as a look ahead to the future.
Wang Chung Set
City of Light
Let’s Get Along
Don’t Let Go
To Live and Die in L.A.
Dance Hall Days
Everybody Have Fun Tonight
The Fixx Set
Just Before Dawn
Take a Risk
One Thing Leads to Another
Less Cities, More Moving People
Stand or Fall
Follow That Cab
Built for the Future
Saved by Zero
Deeper and Deeper