Neon. Strobe lights. Dance clubs. Big hair. Really big hair. The memory of all things ’80s came flooding back the moment Grammy-winning A Flock of Seagulls came on stage at The Pageant Thursday night and began their 70-plus minute set with the classic, popular synth dance song “Modern Love is Automatic.” The mostly Gen X-aged fans rose to their feet ecstatically and those in the back of the room were seen dancing the majority of the night away. Lead singer Mike Score, and the only original member left, may not have his blond coif anymore (in fact, he has no coif at all) but his voice is as solid as it was 40 years ago.
The remainder of their set brought back more memories as they peppered in other hits such as “The More You Live, The More You Love,” “Space Age Love Song,” which Score had you wonder if he really did date an alien, “Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You),” and their piece-de-resistance, “I Ran,” which they closed with. In the middle of the hits they performed some lesser-known material as well as the newer songs “Him,” and “Lovers/Stranger” which Score teased would be available “soon.” The crowd wasn’t quite sure what to do with these songs and mostly sat quietly (as there were chairs also filling the floor) during them and politely cheered them on. When showcasing the new and lesser-known songs, it would have helped to have a stronger stage presence. Bassist Pando was the most animated throughout their time on stage and even that was minimal. But, if you closed your eyes and only listened? You would be right back in that dance club jumping and twirling to the synthpop that A Flock of Seagulls helped pioneer.
Strangelove: The Depeche Mode Experience opened the night to an already fairly packed room. This tribute band that’s been around since 2010 performed 70 minutes of Depeche Mode favorites to the crowd’s delight. Lead singer, Leo Luganskiy as “Ultra Dave” twirled and strutted across the stage continuously. Now, if you closed your eyes you would think you were hearing the original lineup of Depeche Mode, and several devotees of DM after their set were astounded at Strangelove’s emulation of the real deal. One fan drove from Iowa just to see them. Strangelove began the night with Ultra Dave dressed in all white and performed electronica hits including “ A Question of Time,” “People Are People,” and “Get the Balance Right.” During the second half of their set, they brought out Berlin’s former drummer Chris Olivas to join them and Ultra Dave came back on stage in all black (eventually stripping his shirt off). This half opened up a bit more and highlighted each band member’s singular talents. They showcased “Enjoy the Silence,” “Personal Jesus,” and “Never Let Me Down” to name a few. The large screen behind the band showed videos using the Strangelove members in reimagined Depeche Mode music videos to go with each song.
The night was nonstop ’80s (and beyond) nostalgia of carefree dance nights by bringing the synthpop and electronica sounds to this Midwestern city on an otherwise gloomy winter night.
PS. After the show, we learned that Mike Score is heading back home after the close of their extensive tour to have hip surgery and we wish him the best and a speedy recovery.
See more photos from the night here: https://bit.ly/AFoSeagulls24cz
Setlist for A Flock of Seagulls: https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/a-flock-of-seagulls/2024/the-pageant-st-louis-mo-5bacf748.html
Setlist for Strangelove: The Depeche Mode Experience: https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/strangelove–the-depeche-mode-experience/2024/the-pageant-st-louis-mo-4bacf756.html
In my work life, I help nonprofits and small businesses with media and public relations. In my what I love to do life, you can typically find me photographing either wild horses or concerts.