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Norfolk Tourism Awards

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark review: effortlessly mixing experimental music with irresistible pop hooks

PUBLISHED: 10:50 27 May 2018 | UPDATED: 10:57 27 May 2018

OMD take to the stage as the sun sets over Norwich at Let's Rock Norwich 2018 on Earlham Park. Picture: LEE  BLANCHFLOWER

OMD take to the stage as the sun sets over Norwich at Let's Rock Norwich 2018 on Earlham Park. Picture: LEE BLANCHFLOWER

Lee Blanchflower

Kicking off your set with your biggest hit is a ballsy move, but that’s just what Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark did at Let’s Rock Norwich, taking to the stage to Enola Gay.

OMD take to the stage as the sun sets over Norwich at Let's Rock Norwich 2018 on Earlham Park. Picture: LEE  BLANCHFLOWEROMD take to the stage as the sun sets over Norwich at Let's Rock Norwich 2018 on Earlham Park. Picture: LEE BLANCHFLOWER

But then this is a band that has never been ones for convention. And from the unmistakable intro strains of that song, an anti-war song named after the plane that dropped the Hiroshima bomb, onwards they proved how they have managed to mix experimental music with irresistible pop hooks.

It helps that they have such an engaging grontman in singer-bassist Andy McCluskey. Here he was never still getting the crowd swaying their arms and displaying his unique dance style — “it’s even scarier in real life than on YouTube”.

OMD take to the stage as the sun sets over Norwich at Let's Rock Norwich 2018 on Earlham Park. Picture: LEE  BLANCHFLOWEROMD take to the stage as the sun sets over Norwich at Let's Rock Norwich 2018 on Earlham Park. Picture: LEE BLANCHFLOWER

They are marking 40 years since he formed the band on the Wirral in Merseyside with Paul Humphreys and the set reflected the band’s entire idiosyncratic career. “Here’s a new one…from 1991,” quipped McCluskey.

From Sailing the Seven Seas to finishing with the first song they ever wrote togther, Electricity, it was a powerful performance that like most of the band’s history effortlessly mixed groundbreaking music with catchy hits.

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