27 March 2017
Sunday 26 March
Stalking the stage, tattooed arms shiny with sweat and glitter, Dave Gahan struts like a peacock in a leather waistcoat, reminding his crowd why so many fans have become helplessly obsessed with his band from Basildon, Essex since they formed back in 1980. Depeche Mode returned to the Barrowlands for the first time since 1984, to close the BBC 6 Music Festival. Seeing a giant band play such a tiny room was a hot ticket in itself (with a 2000 capacity, it’s a tiddler compared to stadiums they’ll play on their world tour this year). But Gahan’s swagger – endlessly throwing his limbs into angular poses, dangling his bum into the front row and shaking it, stopping to preen his gelled hair in the reflection of the bass drum – took the audience to another level of raptures.
“You know you’re on telly?”, he asks midway through the set, with haughty, pretend disapproval, when the crowd won’t shut up from singing the chorus to Home, long after the band stop playing. They scream back even louder.
The set had four tracks from Spirit, the album they released just over a week ago, and crowd pleasers from further back – A Pain That I’m Used To was full of their signature BDSM and tortured romance themes; Walking in My Shoes nods to the church and its hangover of guilt, and The World in My Eyes was an invitation to let pleasure take over. By the final two songs – Personal Jesus and Enjoy the Silence, both from 1990 album, Violator – as Gahan lap danced his crowd like a snooty, sexy mix of John Waters and the salt bae meme, there was no choice but to submit, servants to these masters of synth pop.
Read the review in The Herald here.
Watch the Barrowlands gig on iPlayer here: