The Herald
22 February 2017

Pet Shop Boys

Pet Shop Boys

Pet Shop Boys
Tue 21 Feb
Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow
4 stars

“I can tell you’re a frisky crowd”, says Neil Tennant, with the trademark self-restraint that has always cleverly offset the high energy of their pop. The Pet Shop Boys’ music might be punching and jacking through 90s piano house, throbbing 80s electro and Italo disco beats, but Tennant and Chris Lowe keep their robotic, deadpan cool, as per usual, and let the audience slowly work themselves into a lather on a wet Tuesday night.

Materialising on stage in space-age, silvery headgear, they start with the adrenal ‘Inner Sanctum’ off their current album, Super, before sliding into a more recognisable hit from their first album, Please, and by the chorus of ‘Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)’, bums are already up off seats and dancing.

This is the fourth decade of action for the friends who first bonded over a love of dance music in London in 1981, and their formula of muscular machine beats, hooky melodies and plaintive vocals still works its magic. Besides a few lulls of Balearic chillout and trancey numbers, when the energy levels dip a bit, they keep the room on a high with favourites like ‘West End Girls’, ‘It’s A Sin’ and ‘Domino Dancing’. Their knack of sneaking in messages about totalitarianism (‘The Dictator Decides’), the AIDS epidemic (‘Being Boring’, which sadly doesn’t get a revisit tonight) or fat cat bankers (‘Love is a Bourgeois Construct’) always elevated their fast-gratification synth-pop above the dancefloor into something more memorable. Delivering it all through steely, 1000 yard stares, dressed in metallic bomber jackets and lit up by lasers and oil-slick, pastel lights, they finish with a teasy flash of the glorious ‘Heart’ mixed into ‘Go West’. An encore of ‘Always on My Mind’ under a ceiling of multicoloured balloons is an excellent closer to what feels like a civilised, weeknight rave full of arch, pop fun.

Read the review in The Herald here.