Guest review: Blow Monkeys and Level 42 shake Northampton

Level 42

Our Montreal correspondent and Canadian concert reviewer Peter Ryan was in the UK this weekend and experienced what he called one of the ’80s shows he’s ever seen. He even took time out to pose with Level 42. Here’s his review: 

The UK town of Northampton finds itself nestled between the British metropolises of London and Birmingham, and over the weekend it played host to a superb show of 80s greatness as part of Level 42’s 2018 tour.

A mostly 40s-and-50s crowd filled the modern Royal & Derngate concert hall to hear an on-time kick-off by The Blow Monkeys, who led the show performing newer songs interspersed with classic ’80s tunes that included the sophistipop anthem Digging Your Scene and It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way, which concluded their set. Singer Robert Howard then met and mingled with fans in the foyer as Level 42 finished their last-minute preparations.

Level 42 hit the stage with tremendous fanfare from the gathered crowd, kicking off the show with the crowd-pleasing Running In The Family, followed quickly by a very danceable instrumental jazz piece. After greeting the audience, the band dove into two of their early ’80s mainstays, which included The Sun Goes Down from the 1983 album Standing in the Light and Starchild from their self-titled Level 42 debut (during which keyboardist Mike Lindup led the crowd in hand-clapping). The end of the 50-minute main set concluded with another jazz performance, which preceded longtime favorites The Chinese Way, Something About You and Heaven In My Hands.

Following a quick break, Level 42 rushed onto stage and closed the show with Lessons in Love and Build Myself a Rocket. Needless to say, an ’80s hungry audience went home feeling fulfilled after seeing two of that decades most enduring bands.