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    Tags: Rewind_North_2016, British_Electric_Foundation, Thomas_Dolby, Mari_Wilson, The_Noisettes, Heaven_17, Peter_Hook, Sarah_OHara

    British Electric Foundation give a show stopping performance at Rewind North 2016

    For some synthesisers seem to represent a particular time in popular music history. Yet today the British Electric Foundation proved that no matter what year it is or where you are, synthesisers and electro music will forever remain timeless.

     

    With a buzz of energy brimming in the air - and that was just from audience anticipation alone - the atmosphere catapulted into a stratosphere of sonic excellence as the British Electric Foundation took to the stage. Originally founded by the technological genius of Martyn Ware, this collective took the musical rulebook, rewrote it, put an electro slant on it and oh my gosh - it’s so good. In fact it’s so good, I couldn’t take my eyes off the stage.

     

    Opening with ‘Science’, Thomas Dolby set the bar high for the performances to come. The cheers from the crowd as he tapped at his portable synthesiser symbolised how, even three decades later, these songs still mean so much to so many people. Culminating in a triumphant rendition of Gary Numan’s ‘Cars’, he was succeeded by the fabulous Mari Wilson, who delighted the crowd with hit song ‘Just what I always wanted’. Wilson’s voice is still as soulful as ever; her beautiful tones souring through the air and filling you with warmth. Her performance left you smiling, while the blend of musical genres appealed to all generations of music lovers.

     

    Following swiftly on was none other than The Lotus Eaters whose choice of cover song was nothing short of spectacular. Revisiting the catalogue of the late, great David Bowie, their rendition of ‘Ashes to Ashes’ reminded us that Bowie was a major influence to so many musicians performing at Rewind North 2016. Without him, would we have some of the songs we’ve heard during the weekend? Perhaps yes, perhaps no. All I do know however, is that The Lotus Eaters paid homage to Bowie with a stunning tribute, which stands out as one of the best covers of the song I have ever heard.

     

    The covers theme continued with a brilliant rendition of The Beach Boys ‘God only knows’, performed by the superbly talented Shingai Shoniwa from The Noisettes. Her dulcet, husky voice gave a soothing feel to the song, which combined with the gorgeous weather, left you feeling euphoric. Plus the whole crowd joined in with the incredible 'I'll never forget', which is a modern pop music classic in it's own right. 

     

    Now I know you might be thinking - The Noisettes weren’t around in the eighties! Yes this may be true, but that’s the beauty of the British Electric Foundation - to showcase artists whose music features an electronic slant. Regardless of the decade or the time, the foundation enables artists of all generations to be heard. I have so much admiration for the work of BEF  and who knows - With a range of ages in the audience today, maybe there’s a future musician who will one day take the stage with the British Electric Foundation!

     

    Back to today however, the foundation just kept on delivering classic performances. Joy Division’s Peter Hook is a skilled musician. He is as skilled with a guitar as he is vocally. Combined, the two flourished into a sonic blast of indie electro sensation with the powerful ‘Love with tear us apart’ and a brilliant cover of ‘The Passenger’. The sensations kept on growing however, as Heaven 17 brought the house down with a cover of ‘Pop Musik’ and a twist on their own classic ‘Temptation’. Apart Glenn Gregory and Kelly Barnes are both thrilling vocalists - together, they are the very essence of pop perfection. The energy brimmed, the rhythms boomed and the vocals grabbed you. Plus Martyn Ware and Glenn Gregory's onstage dynamic was energetic, fun and a delight to watch. You asked us to talk about ‘Pop music’ with your cover song Heaven 17 - well, I’m still going to be talking about the British Electric Foundation’s music for a very long time.

     

    Coming together, the British Electric Foundation closed the set with a moving tribute to Colin Verncombe of Black, who sadly passed away earlier this year. Their rendition of ‘Wonderful life’ was humbling to watch; an emotional tribute to a musician who was admired by fan and artist alike.

     

    I don’t think there is one word that can sum up the British Electric Foundation’s set at Rewind North 2016. All I can say is that I cannot wait to see them perform again. 

     

    Words & Photographs By Sarah O' Hara

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