Having spent the last week listening to space rockers Monster Magnet I had completely forgotten that I had tickets to see both Bright Light Bright Light and Erasure at the Usher Hall on Saturday. I was a little concerned that being in a rock state of mind would in some way dampen my enjoyment of 80s-tinged pop. There was no need to worry.
I was introduced to Bright Light Bright Light only after hearing that they were the support for Erasure and reaching out to interview Rod Thomas I had spent some time in January catching up on their records. Their songs are a lovely slice of retro electro wrapped in a big warm heart. Effortlessly enjoyable and really quite perfect to open for Erasure.
Bright Light Bright Light weren’t on until 8pm but I take my seat in the Grand Circle while the vast majority take their seat in the bar. I look over the stage which is composed of two giant picture frames with a table-like structure in between. It looks like someone could stand on top of that table maybe. The edges of everything are made of thick white and I pray for black lights and flashing neon but I (correctly) figured out that would all be for Erasure.
I still have the ten minute epic of Monster Magnet’s Last Patrol in my head as the crowd continue to sweep in and it won’t go away. The PA is playing a mix of modern and 80s pop but then suddenly Sweet Dreams by the Eurythmics blares out and that Monster Magnet earworm starts to fade. Thank God. I look around seeing some of the crowd sing along as the majority of the 2,200 audience take their seats or place in the stalls. As the song finishes Rod and his band take to the stage and launch into the fabulous Into The Night. It’s a great opener that lights up the whole venue and even manages to get the frequently unmovable Edinburgh crowd in the stalls to sway and shift.
Flanked by a drummer on one side and a synth keyboard laptop on the other Rod strutted and vogued through thirty minutes of snappy blissful pop. Every now and then drumsticks would appear in his hand and he’d cheekily tap a cymbal on his drummer’s kit but mostly it was used to trigger loops and fills on his own pad. The real treat though is when Rod pulls out the saxophone for All In The Name which is the standout first track on Bright Light Bright Light’s recent album Choreography. The album version features Elton John on vocals so it’s impressive that live, the song sounds stronger.
The two girls next to me were clearly fans and loving every moment. They hollered and shrieked throughout each song and really helped emphasise how great each of Bright Light Bright Light’s songs were. One of the chorus lyrics “All in the name of being somebody that somebody cares about.” really resonated with me and along with the saxophone hook I was thoroughly enjoying every song. I found myself moving in my seat, I felt confined and wished I was in the stalls so I could have a little dance. Next time I thought, I’ll get standing tickets.
For more on Bright Light Bright Light click here.