With celebrity deejays collecting million-dollar Vegas paydays to spit remixed cuts, wouldn’t you rather see some electronic dance music pioneers actually perform live?
While EDM is having a moment, let’s not forget that the synth pop pioneers of the Regeneration Tour have been making this kind of music for decades.
Erasure Lead Singer Andy Bell, Howard Jones, Information Society and Men Without Hats—all revered pop stalwarts with loads of ’80s hits—are still making new music, but it will be the classics fans will be bouncing to on Saturday, August 31, at Mountain Winery in Saratoga.
Andy Bell and I Skyped the morning after Britain legalized gay marriage, so congratulations were in order.
“It’s fantastic. I had my civil partnership this year,” Bell said.
He performed at several stateside gay pride festivals before the Regeneration Tour began this month. “Warm-up gigs,” Bell called them.
Fans should expect high-energy takes on Erasure hits like “A Little Respect” and “Stop,” with a keyboard player, percussion and two back-up dancers, angling to keep up with Bell.
“I sing around the house doing warm-up exercises and stuff. I haven’t been to the gym in ages,” Bell said. “I did just move into a new house and have moved boxes all over. That’s been my work out!”
Bell added that recording a new Christmas album with Vince Clarke—the other half of Erasure—has also kept up his vocal chops.
“When I was 14 or so, my friends and I would go around to other people’s houses and sing Christmas carols at their doors,” he said. “We would make so much money! Recording these carols reminded me of that time.”
Bell said the album, due in November, would be half Erasure original holiday songs and half traditional hymns.
“The Erasure ones are like sound-scapes. The carols that we are doing are more filmic. It really reminds me of Cocteau Twins style than traditional carols,” he said. “It’s quite funny because America seems more religious, but in the UK we sing the hymns more.”
Bell said he was looking forward to performing on the same stage with Howard Jones again. “I was a fan when I was a teenager, before I moved to London,” he said.
Jones is getting some great accolades online from his recent live sets.
He is expected to perform synth pop hits such as “Pearl in the Shell,” “What is Love” and “Things Can Only Get Better.”
Perhaps he’ll surprise fans with a new song (aside from his ’80s tune, “New Song”). Jones is expected to release a new dance album in 2014.
“What's really great is having been part of the ’80s, which seems to be such a recurrent theme in music,” Andy Bell said.
Visit mountainwinery.com/concerts for more information on the Regeneration Tour at Mountain Winery. Show time is 6:30 p.m. to fit in all four acts (and to get us home at a decent hour).