A Flock of Seagulls at Rewind Scotland 2018

Rewind Scotland, Scone Palace, 20-22 Jul 2018

Everyone’s favourite retro festival turned ten this year, so I expected Rewind to pull out all the stops. And they did just that. Regular gig pals Sarah and Pete joined me again for a jaunt to sunny Perth, where we were astounded at the lack of both queues and exiled T In The Park bams that plagued last year’s event.

The lineup was… eclectic, but on the whole enjoyable. The Skids opened day one with an energetic pile of hits that made the hardcore fan next to us go misty-eyed. I still don’t know the lyrics to Into The Valley, but peas sure sound divine. After a small appearance from Roachford (“He had more hits than Cuddly Toy?” – Pete), Peter Hook and The Light brought a miraculously grievance-free set. Nary a mention of the bastards that owe him money as he delved into the considerable Joy Division and New Order back catalogue. Though we could’ve done without throwing the sweaty T-shirt into the crowd, Hooky.

Howard Jones at Rewind Scotland 2018We had high hopes for Howard Jones, and weren’t disappointed. HoJo has barely aged, can still rock a keytar, and was cheerful and gracious to the crowd. He was followed by small acts of varying quality. Standouts included the Weather Girls’ Martha Wash on top vocal form sneaking in her C&C Music Factory classic, an emotional set from Kim Appleby (the first since Mel died), and a youthful Tiffany making the dads a bit giddy. Odyssey, though, sent us barwards, especially when they kept forgetting lyrics to their biggest hit.

Roland Gift was, as in 2016, flawless – so much so he got the “I’ve been dragged here by my wife” guy in front up and dancing. But our whole party was baffled at the decision to put The Gipsy Kings in a prime evening slot. They’re not the most ‘Rewind’ of groups, and most people only know Bamboleo. Sarah correctly predicted they’d put it in the middle of the set and lo, the term “this set’s gone a bit Gipsy Kings” was coined. Years passed, the crowd was divided, and with a pleasant flamenco Volare cover they finally buggered off.

OMD at Rewind Scotland 2018Headliners OMD were well worth the small delay. Andy McCluskey’s jovial banter and dad dancing have greatly improved since I saw him at Latitude years ago (“He throws shapes unknown to geometry” – Pete). The Joan of Arc duo was a treat, as was “the new stuff… from 1991”. “You Scottish folk usually sing ‘Testicles’ to this,” Andy declared, launching into Tesla Girls. I’ve never seen a more joyful audience. Beg, steal or borrow tickets to an OMD gig – you won’t regret it.

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Sunday began with Hue and Cry. Once they got going they weren’t too shabby, but the spectre of Pat Kane’s newspaper column lingered in an ill-advised new song featuring the bassist rapping about indyref. Reader, I cringed. Fortunately, The Selecter eased our pain with some superb afternoon skanking just like last year’s gig.

The Selecter at Rewind Scotland 2018The afternoon sagged somewhat. Boomtown Rats irritated right from the start, with an overblown, arrogant intro complete with gunfire (!) and Geldof ranting about politics, Geldofsplaining who Janey Godley was to people acutely aware of her “Trump Is A C*nt” sign. The misery continued with a ‘short’ set from UB40 that was unbearable even from a distance. “UB40 are inexplicably popular, but then so was Mussolini,” declared Sarah as they launched into a shambolic Red Red Wine. Imagination’s Leeeeeee John was a smooth, funky palate cleanser, before a pitchy, unsteady Wendy James from Transvision Vamp ruined everything again.

A mullet-less Flock of Seagulls saved the evening shift, paving the way nicely for cheery partners-in-synth Heaven 17. They pretty much replicated their Let’s Rock set, which was no bad thing. Likewise, Midge Ure was as excellent as ever. By the time the big headliners appeared, green room drink had clearly been imbibed. Bonnie Tyler had no filter whatsoever (“I have Botox twice a year, like sex”), sang some more obscure hits (including the other Jim Steinman one), but Holding Out For A Hero and Total Eclipse got everyone back on side. Props to the gran in front of us who started breakdancing to Holding Out – gaun yersel’.

We were sceptical about Status Quo’s prime slot – without Rick, it wouldn’t be the same. How wrong we were. In a touching gesture, a third mic stand was left out for their missing member, and like many acts the unknown songs still got a warm reception. Francis Rossi also had no filter, rambling about ’80s cocaine-fuelled fun and how political correctness has ruined talking about lady bits. Baffling. Still, the fans left happy, as did we.

So, another decent Rewind. All the same, I’d go easy on the extended world music section next time.

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