Live Review: OMD with Oh Land at 9:30 Club, Washington, DC – 10th March 2011

By on Wednesday, 16th March 2011 at 2:00 pm

OMD, like many other English synthesiser bands I was a fan back in the ’80s, seem to all be coming back out of the woodwork to go on these reunion tours. Compared to other shows I go to, I knew the crowd for this one would older – and I say this as a compliment, because that meant I wasn’t going to be jostled and everyone there was, for the most part, considerate of each other. (Which is not always the case at the 9:30: so many bands have said how great the club is to perform at, but they have never considered that it can be treacherous for some of their, um, shorter, smaller fans like myself.)

Nanna Øland Fabricius, better known by her stage name Oh Land, is a Danish singer/songwriter who opened for OMD on this tour. Seeing that she’s Scandinavian, I think the comparisons to Lykke Li are inevitable, especially since judging from her short set during which she often beat on an electronic drum pad with gusto, she likes her beats, just like the Swedish songstress. But if I were to do a straight comparison between the two singers, I’d say Fabricius has the most naturally beautiful voice between the two of them, showing her vocal clearness on the slower, dreamier numbers. And sorry for another Scandi comparison, but her number ‘We Turn It Up’ would make the Robyn dance fans happy, as Fabricius was jumping up and down during this song, clapping her hands. One punter in front of us shouted “I love you, marry me!” and then promptly left after her set, so I guess that’s direct evidence of her growing, captive fanbase in America.

For months, I had been preparing to see OMD for the first time ever. I already had it in my head that I was going to swoon during their one massive American hit, ‘If You Leave’, and I did. Everyone else in the club did too, for that matter. But, given my recent inclination towards synth-based bands in the last 3 years, I was eager to see what equipment Paul Humphreys would bring along. A huge Roland Fantom X8. Serious stuff. I could go on and on about each song and how even the ones I wasn’t familiar with wowed me (‘Dreaming’, ‘Sail on the Seven Seas’, ‘Souvenir’) as well as the new ones that I’ve come to know and love (‘History of Modern’, ‘Sister Mary Says’), alongside the classics. All the while, lead singer/bassist Andy McCluskey was showing off his moves, which was sometimes awe-inspiring for the amount of energy he has but sometimes hilarious for the inanity. Hey, if I can move like that to the music when I’m in my 50s, I’d say I was doing pretty good!

When I say classics, I mean ones like ‘Tesla Girls’, causing the crowd to erupt in cheers at the first hints of the sampled “no no nos!”; ‘Enola Gay’, sounding as great as it did yesterday; and the set closer, ‘Electricity’, which makes your head spin, knowing that it was written in the ’70s. I imagine I felt the same way Jason felt seeing the Human League at Royal Festival Hall last December. When you’re faced with songs that stand the test of time like this, you just stand there, astonished by a band’s talent. The outcome of the night? OMD was equally astonished by the Washington reception. If McCluskey makes good on his promise, this band will be back playing for us again in the Nation’s Capital very soon.

Set list and more photos after the cut.

Oh Land Photos:

OMD Set List:
New Babies: New Toys
Tesla Girls
Radio Waves
History of Modern
(Forever) Live and Die
If You Leave
Maid of Orleans
Joan of Arc
New Holy Ground
Talking Loud and Clear
So in Love
Sister Mary Says
Sailing on the Seven Seas
Enola Gay
Walking on the Milky Way

OMD Photos:

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[…] America, OMD owes this song a lot to their mainstream popularity; when we’d seen them 2 years ago at 9:30 Club, saying that the audience was entirely in rapture during its playing would have been an […]

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