OMD in Bristol: A captivating and immersive experience

Live Review - Bristol

Andy McCluskey of OMD. Photo by Paula Smith.

By Paula Smith, Photographer, and Dion Smith, Journalist, Bristol

Live Review: OMD Live Review – Bristol Beacon – March 19th 2024 

So I have not had the pleasure of seeing Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) or their support band “Walt Disco” live before so this is going to be a learning experience for me, and knowing that OMD are pioneers of the electronic music scene, I know I am in for something quite special. 

I arrived at the Bristol Beacon and took my seat on the 3rd tier of the newly developed venue, and I must say this venue is very impressive indeed. 

The lights go down just after 8 for the support band “Walt Disco” who are from Glasgow. Even though I am there to review OMD, this band definitely deserve a mention as I think this band have a very bright future ahead of them.   

They are hard to categorise in terms of genre but they almost have a bit of everything making up their unusual sound. They have stated that some of their influences are  the Associates and Simple Minds and are described as a flamboyant Goth – glam band on some online articles. Interesting indeed. 

James Potter of Walt Disco. Photo by Paula Smith.

Their performance was high energy with vocalist James Potter AKA Jocelyn Si reaching every corner of the stage while delivering almost Bowie like vocal lines.  The band were incredibly tight, and for me, the guitarist Lewis Carmichael was a stand out member of the band who was able to create some incredible tones with his guitar setup.  Most importantly Walt Disco’s songs were catchy and memorable.  The band talked of touring the USA soon and I think they will do very well, indeed. 

Now onto the legendary Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.  

As the stage was being prepared for OMD their on-stage setup was actually quite simple–three risers onstage for drummer (Stuart Kershaw) and synth players (Paul Humphreys and Martin Cooper) and a single microphone at the front for vocalist Andy McCluskey.  This bands popularity certainly hasn’t diminished over the years as the Beacon was packed and you couldn’t move in the standing area!  The stage and risers were bathed in red light as we eagerly waited for OMD to hit the stage. It looked like the headline act would not disappoint. 

OMD took to the stage just after 9.  The crowd go wild and welcome OMD to the stage as they opened the night with “Anthropocene”.  The band are warmly received onstage by the already excited crowd. 

OMD. Photo by Paula Smith.

OMD set the tone for the evening by going straight into their second track “Messages”.  Vocalist Andy McCluskey breaks out his bass guitar and does a great job of delivering well crafted bass lines while belting out a solid vocal performance. Drummer Stuart Kershaw does an incredible job delivering a solid foundation for the group. Then came “Tesla Girls”, “Kleptocracy” and “History Of The Modern”, sending waves of nostalgia throughout the crowd.  

The energy was palpable as lead vocalist Andy McCluskey danced across the stage, his distinctive voice echoing through the venue as the crowd jumped with the pulsating synths and big anthem like synth melodies. I could feel the low pulsing of the synths shaking the whole venue which added to the experience. 

Paul Humphreys of OMD. Photo by Paula Smith.

Then came “If You Leave”, “Forever Live and Die” and “Bauhaus Staircase”…signalling a slower paced part of the show and affording a well earned rest for the band who had delivered a high energy performance up to this point.  Then “Souvenir”, “Joan Of Arc”, and then “Joan Of Arc” (Maid Of Orleans) which had the crowd screaming for more.  Andy McCluskey seemed truly surprised and humbled by the immensely positive reaction he received from the excited Bristol crowd at the end of each song. 

Then came “Veruschka”, “Healing”, “Don’t Go” and “So In Love”…and of course the main set was topped off with some memorable classics such as “Locomotion”, “Sailing on the Seven Seas” and of course the wonderful “Enola Gay”. 

Andy McCluskey of OMD. Photo by Paula Smith.

OMD’s stage presence was captivating, with dynamic visuals and lighting which enhanced the immersive experience. The band’s chemistry was evident as they seamlessly transitioned between songs, each member contributing to the layers of sound that defines their music. 

Throughout the night, OMD treated fans to a diverse setlist of old and new that spanned their illustrious career. Classics like “Messages,” and “If You Leave” had the audience singing and dancing along with the band.  This was a night to remember and OMD proved they still have what it takes to deliver their incredible wealth of songs in a live setting.  With their innovative sound and timeless classics, OMD proved that they are still at the forefront of electronic music, solidifying their status as icons of the electronic genre.  

McCluskey’s emotive vocals, combined with the ethereal melodies of the synthesisers, created a mesmerising atmosphere that held the crowd captive for the night. 

As the concert drew to a close, OMD delivered an encore that left the audience craving for more. Delivering  “Look At You Now”, “Pandora’s Box” which had everyone on their feet and then closing out the night with “Electricity”.  OMD left a lasting impression on Bristol, proving once again why they are revered as legends in the electronic music scene. 

An incredible show and definitely a night to remember OMD!!! 



Dion Smith

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