We’re already halfway through 2014, it’s certainly been a somewhat momentous year for both Adrian and I, as I’m sure it has been for many of you. For me, it’s shaping up to be a great year as I’ve got a new job, I’ve been shooting more, and I’ve been making friends and having adventures.
This Queen’s Birthday was no exception, as Adrian surprised me with tickets to Pet Shop Boys, a band that I’ve always somewhat admired for their great outlandish visuals, as well as their social commentary on gay life, as well as the peculiarities and quirks of modern British urban life.
The last time I saw Pet Shop Boys would have been at the old V-Fest music festival [Do you even remember that??] sometime in the mid 2000′s. I’m going with 2006. It was a warm and sultry Summer evening, and after seeing the standards of that era [Cut Copy and Sneaky Sound System], Pet Shop Boys came on stage and started doing their thing. I was getting into it, and of course everyone wanted to go see some awfully overrated DJ. In hindsight, I was sad I didn’t get to see the boys play as I had always been aware of them and their music, having been a kid in the early nineties, I still remember how much of an impact they had back then. You only need to remember Go West’s titanic anthem and it’s carry-over with bringing LGBT culture to the fore. Or the outrageously camp Absolutely Fabulous with its overtones of fun and silliness which matched perfectly the furore and frenetic humour of the show it was promoting. Or even Se A Vida E with it’s cool summery sound and message of universal love.
That was the Pet Shop Boys I knew growing up. They represented another world that existed within our own, yet for a Middle-Class Italian kid growing up in the quintessence of Australian family surburbia that was the Inner-West’s answer to Stepford, Concord, this world was unreachable, only to be seen in fragments like music videos, magazine articles or radio. I was always intrigued by this band who were so paradoxically different to the norm. They presented themselves with such conviction in their own looks, as though the rest of us were the ones who looked as though we were in completely ridiculous garb. They were the closest thing to a David Bowie-like figure of otherworldliness that existed at the time. So to say the least I was quitely eager to see PSB, as well as to see how they would differentiate themselves from the plethora of other ‘retro’ bands that are enjoying a revival.
Here, then lies the amazing thing about Pet Shop Boys. Their show proved to me, and I’m sure to the whole packed-out room at Carriageworks, that they are far from being a band that has had their ‘heyday’ 20-30 years ago and are simply riding on their coattails of success from decades ago. Having gone and seen one of my favourite bands, The Human League in 2009, I’m aware of the resurgence of lots of bands from the 1980′s onwards who are touring again, with differing degrees of success.
It was safe to say that my notions of Pet Shop Boys being just another old band that’s had it’s day were completely blown away. I walked out of the place so impressed as well as energised. The show was, like the name of their latest album, purely ‘Electric’. The visuals they used were slick, impressive as well as really quite cheeky and smart. They wore their trademark uniforms such as their bright orange dunce hats, as well as new and equally outrageous outfits.
The music itself was perfection and sublime. They played both newer and classic tracks, which got the crowd energised and moving. No need to explain further just how impressed I am, or how happy I am that I got to go see such a great act live.
And how do you follow up something like Pet Shop Boys? Loose Ends of course! I love going to Phoenix for the purely dinge-factor of the place, as well as the crowd and music. And this time was no exception!
Wild Porteno, Pet Shop Boys & Loose Ends on a Queen’s birthday. We’re already halfway through 2014, it’s certainly been a somewhat momentous year for both Adrian and I, as I’m sure it has been for many of you.