ORCHESTRAL Manoeuvres In The Dark have always been one of our more interesting electro-synth pop bands.

They had chart success with hits like ‘Enola Gay’ and ‘Maid of Orleans’ but were also sufficiently groundbreaking to influence bands like Depeche Mode and the Pet Shop Boys.

Wrapping up their UK tour at the Sage this week OMD opened with two strong tracks from their latest release, The Punishment of Luxury.

Ghost Star was an atmospheric opener and Isotype saw singer Andy McCluskey break out the weird, energetic dancing for which he is famed.

Strapping on his bass, McCluskey asked whether the audience had their dancing shoes on and the Kraftwerk-like synth intro to Messages provided the answer. The audience got to their feet and stayed there for the rest of the evening.

A mid set trio of songs from their classic Architecture & Morality album, Souvenir (with co-founder Paul Humphreys on vocals), Joan of Arc and Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans) was nothing short of excellent and they wrapped up the main set in fine fashion with Sailing On The Seven Seas and Enola Gay.

Returning for an encore of Walking On The Milky Way, Pandora’s Box they ended with an epic version of their first hit, Electricity.

It was an entertaining performance from first song to last and demonstrated that even after close to 40 years, OMD remain capable of producing new and interesting music. Happily, you can find out for yourselves when they support A-ha next June at The Northern Echo Arena in what promises to be an outstanding day’s music.

Dave Lawrence