Depeche Mode. So I’m all over the updates, giddy, like I get, on my serotonin binges, with the matter of having gone to see them, in concert, in Leeds, last night, no less, with a friend. The friend is quiet, skilled, Gretsch-wielder Andy T., and there’s a lovely circular reference in our friendship’s being from the time when Depeche Mode were kinda first at it, and circular moreso because we were in the habit back then of emulating that waspish sound with the synths and guitars and drum machines, flangers, CopyCats, sequencers, of our own, so the almost every touchpoint of our meeting up last night (only the second time in thirty years.. THIRTY YEARS!) was disco-loaded with a distant but conjoined history of cassette-driven hissing and marvellously innocent pop. But. Me and Andy differed in our DM relations, mostly in that I was so much more Human League and Soft Cell, nervous, perhaps, of the Essexian remoteness of the skinny-b’linky pin-ups of Smash Hits (except I did adore the glocken-whimsy and love-lettering of ‘See You’, and having to have it stole a copy as a dizzy paperboy), and that difference it was carried, unmattering, through the decades, so that the live encounter just hours ago with the band on that stage was fabulously now less about nostalgia and more future-facing, brimming with opportunities to stride forward with these swarthsome made-up lizards and the all-new business of their grinding and gunpowder leathery something-something-something-something-something rock. (All somethings are intentional… ooh, good title for an album.) But. Oh, the good humour, largesse and generosity in the ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ encore – no hammy tongue, no sense of over-obligation, just a poundingly big presentation of perhaps, in this abundant world, one of the greatest pop songs ever played. But. And. Back to the future, and what I have to look forward to – more of Martin’s diva persona, and his (as Morrissey sang) ‘lovely singing voice, a lovely singing voice’; his Gretsch wielding also – but with such boyish, joyish, care; Dave Gahan’s entire snakey, funny, relentless his-ness, and a carefully thoughtful recommendation just this morning from an ultimate fan that has me paralleling this ear-ringing clamour with downloading, proper and paid-for, Violator. Time forward, time backward; time that brings Andy and me and millions back together and will do so into the future, with music – forward, backward, together, not together, decades, something, time; and a little piece of history, loud and so skilfully, passionately done, and fixed for the future for good.
© Steve Mitchell, Fisher Lane, 2013