all photos: Katherine Gaines
Shona and Keli here. In a very inspired/drunken moment at Fashion Camp we decided that we would go see Erasure and Frankmusik. You may ask why, but the answer is obvious. With Erasure’s background music in Robot Unicorn Attack, and Frankmusik’s fun hairstyles and great electronic music, we knew it would be gay, but wow, it was GAY. Here’s what we thought and stuff.
Erasure waited four years before coming out with their new album Tomorrow’s World and obviously they had to introduce it in a manner befitting their status as electro-pop royalty. Having made 14 albums thus far Erasure certainly does like to roll out the red carpet. The English duo has been around for 25 years so the fans have had quite awhile to get carried away with their infatuation. Having attended the first night of Erasure’s two-night visit to DC it was obvious that Vince Clark and gay icon Andy Bell have a huge number of admirers (even if they do bring the English rain along with them).
Something must have clicked when Erasure and Frankmusik hooked up to make Tomorrow’s World because he gets the opening spot on the US leg of the tour. Adding Frankmusik to the mix makes the show a high voltage synth-pop blowout. Frankmusik is a British mix master who introduced himself to the crowd saying they would play some old songs, some new songs, some 80s covers but since nobody knows who the heck he is that it wouldn’t matter either way. These may be some adorably humble first words but he is mostly just GQ adorable and has a backing band equally as adorable, if not distractingly good-looking.
To get a taste of Frankmusik’s take a look at the video for “When You’re Around.” Ps. that like totally our favorite song…
Shona: I arrived as he was stepping on stage and found myself a spot upstairs for a few songs. On either side of me were people that could probably have been my parents, and they were definitely not into seeing anybody but the headliner. You could hear some wholehearted cheers from the floor but upstairs people were taking pictures, running off to the bar, or passively staring around possibly being surprised to find the entirely of their 1985 high school class. As the music continued he played a song covering a couple old 80’s faves and suddenly all the heads turned back to Frankmusik and the crowd was converted. They liked that and then I’ll bet grew to really appreciate his GQ looks for the remainder for the short set.
Keli: Sooooooo, I admit I arrived late and Frankmusik may have already played the song above, which is my favorite. But it’s all good because the crowd was a sight to behold. There were hoards of bears everywhere. Daddy bears, baby bears, (colloquially knows as cubs), straight bears, and a new variety, LADY BEARS. Um, Frankmusik is turning a new corner and doing weird party jamz, now, which is why I had to make up that new variety of bears to keep myself entertained.
The first thing of note when walking into the 9:30 Club on Tuesday night was the surprisingly gothic look of the stage when the music obviously would not be dark or gloomy. The stage showcased a representation of a cathedral in ruins. It was a dystopian backdrop featuring a gargoyle and strong, bright colored lights making it all seem like a stage for a theater of synth-pop.
Keli: The stage was weird and there was a gargoyle which made me think that every performer was Elvira. There were strange post Berlin Wall architectural beams, which were very elegant, and then there was that weird goth emblem that turned into stained glass. It was all a little too Blade for me, but it was a nice backdrop for the colorful outfits. Oh yeah, the lights were pretty.
Shona: I already told you some college level stuff by describing it as “dystopian” so I’m sort of tired now. But I also have to add how fabulously the lighting played off the costumes because that is important. When Andy Bell came out to the front of the stage in a red sequined blazer the lights on him sparkled off in reds, pinks and blues. The reflection shone on his face and glittered off his forehead sweat gallantly. Bell twinkled like a star!
This audience was much more jubilant than 9:30 Club typically gets. BYGays always likes to see you shakin’ it and finally we found some people unafraid to fawn over an icon while excelling at crowded dancing that still employed grooving around starting at the hips. We got the beat.
Shona: Most of the audience didn’t know Frankmusik (as he astutely expected) but when he and the hottie keyboardist gal sang “Do It In The AM” suddenly the crowd decided they liked that one and the dancing started. Erasure garnered their full attention and had crowds of men leaning forward, mouthing all the words, shaking their shoulders, all while keeping their grinning little bald heads bouncing.
Keli: Lady Bears.
Simply put these guys are pop superstars. We’ve already called them royalty and we are sure more than a couple attendees that night would be happy to kneel down in respect of their majesty. Andy Bell wore this incredible getup that included a red sequin blazer, a Roman helmet with mohawk, a leather corset that he was cut out of at one point, and a safety pinned Devo shirt. The back up singers had feather mohawks and Vince Clarke, stationed in the Gargoyle, kept it simple with just a tshirt and pants. The music they played was an eclectic mix of their 80’s hits, 90’s jams, and newer stuff. We youngsters could have done without the newer stuff… we want to know the words.
Keli: I was pleasantly surprised with Erasure. I had no idea they were gay, honestly. My dad and mom grew up in the eighties so, I just listened to what they listened to. I knew of those few 80’s Erasure songs, but had no idea that they’ve kept making records. They have this new sound, which is heavily influenced by their previous music, but contains more modern dance beats. I think they still have some work to do, since a few of the songs didn’t seem fully fleshed out and one song abruptly ended, but the direction is great and I can’t wait for remixes.
Shona: Keli didn’t know Erasure has been secretly indoctrinating him with gay-friendly electronic vibes?? Has he never been curious where the desire to become a disco-pop sensation came from? That’s silly. But also having grown up listening to the strange/sometimes shockingly good taste of my parents as well my formative years were quite poppy. Plus this time I can tell the rents about the group I saw and they will know what I am talking about… shocking! Go Erasure keep it up for another boat load of synth sensations.