LIVE REVIEW: OMD light up trip into the past at Sheffield City Hall

OMD rocked Sheffield City Hall.
OMD rocked Sheffield City Hall.

"This place used to be quite subdued!," yells OMD frontman Andy McCluskey as a cheering City Hall audience keen to show off its dance moves takes a breather between songs.

"You've changed!," he announces to more roars, before launching into another synthesizer driven layer of sonic, keyboard pop.

Welcome then, to the ongoing story of Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, a band with one of the most unwieldy names in the history of popular music, but at the same time, some of the most enduring singles and classic hooks from the 80s.

Believe it or not, the group have now been making music for the best part of 40 years and with the release of their latest album, The Punishment of Luxury and this, their 12th visit to Sheffield's City Hall, there's still plenty of life left in these 50 somethings yet.

Right from the off, McCluskey, throwing himself around the stage in a series of "dad dancing" style poses invites the extremely enthusiastic audience to "dance like nobody's watching" - and that's precisely what happens.

"Tonight," he says, "there will be new, there will be old" - and this is a very distinct trip down memory lane, interspersed with new songs which still pack the trademark OMD sound, updated with punchy beats and even slicker synth lines.

Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey of OMD.

Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey of OMD.

Early hits such as Tesla Girls and (Forever) Live And Die, which sees Paul Humphreys step out from behind his keyboard to sing the first of many lead vocals of the evening take listeners on a trip down memory lane while Isotype and What Have We Done, both from the new album, show that the lads still know what it takes to deliver a song with killer hooks and lyrics delivered in that McCluskey voice that still sounds as good as it did back in 1979.

A fan vote sees a welcome airing for 1991 comeback single Pandora's Box get a welcome airing and hits such as Souvenir, Joan Of Arc and Locomotion ensure that "non-stop senseless dancing," as McCluskey describes it, is never too far away.

By the time Sailing On The Seven Seas and Enola Gay close the main set, OMD have proved they can write, in McCluskey's own words "more than songs just about machines and telephones" and the roars from a sweaty and excitable crowd show just how loved they still are.

An encore of Walking On The Milky Way, Secret and debut single Electricity "the oldest and the fastest," says McCluskey, rounds things off pretty nicely and sends the City Hall crowd into the cool November air with a reminder of just why the band are regarded as one of the most important from the New Wave era.

This may have been a synth pop trip down memory lane but OMD are still very much in the here and now and that latest album is well worth checking out.

Sure it won't be long before the boys are back in town on a 13th visit.