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Go West - Islington academy, London - 22nd December 2011 | FESTIVALPHOTO

Go West - Islington academy, London - 22nd December 2011



Tonights show was originally planned to be at the Shepherds Bush Empire but was changed to Islington Academy due to lower than expected sales. Judging by the packed shops near the venue I think the gig suffered by being just that bit too close to Christmas when everyone was desperately running round trying to get their last minute shopping done. It's a shame as the bands deserved a bigger crowd, and those who didnt attend missed out on a great night.

First up was the support act, a singer/songwriter called Neil Thomas. He sang and accompanied himself with a guitar. His songs all sounded or felt like ballads even though one was actually about Hurricane Katrina. He had a good voice and although he was fairly static on stage, standing still by the microphone as he played and sang, he did manage to impress quite a few people in the audience judging by the applause and the number of people who were buying his CD after his set.

Tonight's headliners were 80's pop legends, Go West. This was my first time seeing the band and I was struck by the mix of people in the audience. The venue was three-quarters full with a fairly even split of men and women, and the bit that surprised me slightly was that there were so many people in their teens or twenties there - proof that the band are attracting new fans as well as retaining fans from the 8os.
The band were greeted with loud cheers as they came on stage and kicked off with "Man on fire" from the bands 2008 album, Futurenow. Another new track came up next - "Drive" from the 3D album (which we're told will have the third part released in 2012).
Tonights set covers a selection of songs from the entire length of the bands career - from the very first album released in 1985 right up to the present day. Unlike many bands where fans have a clear preference for songs from a certain time period (usually the older classic hits), tonights crowd are equally happy with all the songs both old and new.
As well as the usual clapping and cheering, fans near the front are bouncing up and down part of the time, and further back wherever space allows, you can see fans dancing away and generally having a great night.
I have to admit I didnt know many Go West songs before tonight's show but I thoroughly enjoyed the entire show. Richard Drummie and Peter Cox were clearly having a great time on stage and that enthusiasm helps get the audience in the right mood.
As well as the band's own material, we get two covers - "Tracks of my tears"
(originally by Smokey Robinson), and "Sex on fire" (Kings of Leon).
Despite the set being filled with great songs, there was only one song that Go West could end the show with - the song that is bigger than any other they have done - "King of Wishful thinking" which thanks to being prominently featured in the film Pretty Woman, gained the band a huge number of fans. Tonight they put in a great performance and the night comes to an end on a high point.

A great night, and it's nice to see a band that came to fame in the 80s that is still writing and performing new music rather than just touring their old material and living on past glories. Their new music is just as good as the older hits and Go West are definitely a band to go and see for anyone who was around in the 80s, or who likes 80s music.

Go West setlist:

Man on fire
Black and gold
Pocket call
She lights me up
Goodbye girl
Don't look down
Bright lights, bigger city
The king is dead
Let love come
Tears too late
Love it when you lie
Fastest man alive
Tracks of my tears
Call me
We close our eyes

Sex on fire
King of wishful thinking


Writer: Anthony May
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