LIVE REVIEW: Sixties sparkle, tugged heartstrings and pop power as Marc Almond shines from the shadows

Marc Almond.
Marc Almond.
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If you want to want to feel old, it is now nearly 40 years since Soft Cell's synthpop classic Tainted Love topped charts around the globe.

It is an enduring and anthemic song that has stood the test of time and its singer, the one and only Marc Almond, has turned 60 this year - something else that will make you feel ancient if you can remember him bouncing around the Top Of The Pops studio decked in eyeliner and all black outfit.

Fitting then, that Marc's new tour is steeped in nostalgia and firmly rooted in decades passed.

And the audience packed into Scunthorpe's Baths Hall, is shall we say, of certain forty to fifty something demographic who can recall the days of when the charts were ruled by New Romantics and the threat of nuclear war gripped the planet.

Not the 80s however, but a little further back in time, to the so-called Swinging Sixties. However, in Marc's world, the sixties aren't so much swinging as sad and sorrow laden.

For the star's new album Shadows and Reflections is a trip back to the decade, a host of covers from the likes of Bobby Vinton and Billy Fury and Marc's own original torch songs - tales of love, loss and heartbreak wrapped in sweeping orchestral arrangements, melodrama and those incredible, soaring vocals.

Backed by a full orchestra, much of the first half of the set is spent exploring those themes of lost love with songs such as I'm Lost Without You, Still I'm Sad and Blue On Blue.

Despite the subject matter, its not all doom and gloom and while the subject matter of the lyrics themselves might not be the cheeriest, Marc's powerful voice has the power to uplift and send a tingle down the spine.

Hits such as The Days Of Pearly Spencer and Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart are liberally peppered in among the torch songs, before a cover of Dusty Springfield's I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten picks things up for the remainder of the set.

Turning up the tempo, we're treated to power pop classics such as Jacky, Soft Cell's Torch, a brief glimpse of Tainted Love before a singalong, swayalong rendition of Say Hello, Wave Goodbye, complete with a couple of inflatable pink flamingoes - the name of the club checked in the lyrics - bobbing around the audience as Marc goes out on a real high.

This was a superb and well executed show, steeped in the past, but brought firmly into the present by a man with charisma, heart-searing lyrics and with a voice that sounds as good now as it did when we first heard it back in 1981.

Marc Almond is still a man who shines brightly from the shadows.

Mention to support star, American singer-songwriter Galia Arad who set the tone perfectly with her guitar strummed quirky songs about meeting Irishmen and not getting emails from Elvis Costello.

Combined with a spot of anti-Donald Trump sentiment and a cover of Britney Spears' Toxic, her pitch-perfect vocals were a delicious starter for a night of pure, seamless pop delivered with faultless ease.

If you can catch this tour, make sure you do. You won't be disappointed.

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