Gig Review | OMD @ Usher Hall

On the Usher Hall’s 110th Anniversary, dedicated music fans of all ages were treated to an incredible night of live music. The celebratory show not only marks the incredible milestone of the gorgeous Edinburgh venue, but also marks 44 years since the release of OMD‘s debut self-titled album. With support from the incredible Walt Disco, this wasn’t a night to miss, and a gig I’ll never forget.

Support: Walt Disco

In an atmospheric hometown support slot, Scotland’s very own talents Walt Disco took to the stage and immediately impressed all who attended. In what was already a celebratory show for both OMD and the Usher Hall, Walt Disco could too share in the celebrations. The group recently released two singles from their upcoming 2024 album, ‘Pearl‘ and ‘You Make Me Feel So Dumb‘ which featured on the setlist too. Definitely keep a lookout and pre-order this album, it’s sounding amazing already!

Walt Disco name a long list of acts that have influenced and inspired them. If you’re a fan of acts like Talking Heads, David Bowie, Billie Holiday and Young Fathers, then you’ll adore Walt Disco. They mix elements of genres that you wouldn’t think would work together. However, their fusion of funky bass riffs, instantly recognisable vocals, guitar solos and mesmerising melodies work seamlessly. They even kindly include time for a dance break in some songs.

I think they were absolutely the perfect pick for this OMD support slot, there seems to be a bit of influence from the headliners in their music too. Andy McCluskey, OMD frontman said of Walt Disco “we’re so lucky to have stars of the future with us” and I couldn’t agree with this sentiment more.

2022 saw Walt Disco release their debut album “Unlearning” and this first record from them is a difficult one to beat. Songs from this debut record including ‘Cut Your Hair‘ made the setlist and I’m so happy I got to watch it live. They create this genderless, obscure, theatrical and eclectic environment that I have never witnessed before and I’m absolutely here for it. They looked like they were having the best time on stage, and that’s exactly what live music is all about.

Headline: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (OMD)

When beginning to write this part of the review, normally I have things I can easily write about. With this headline set from OMD, I was left lost for words. OMD are responsible for some of the biggest hits across multiple decades, yet they’re a band I feel are somewhat underrated. Their setlist was filled with back to back hits, and everyone was bound to know at least one.

With dedicated and adoring fans singing along with every word, I took a moment to look around and noticed one thing in particular, the lack of mobile phones being held up. I am from a younger generation and it’s become normal not to be able to see due to your sight being blocked by people eager to capture every moment on their devices. However, and I cannot stress enough that I am not calling the audience old, it was really rewarding and refreshing to actually be able to see. I, myself, only recorded a segment of one or two songs, mainly ‘Sailing On The Seven Seas‘ as it is a personal favourite.

Andy McCluskey took on the role as frontman for most of the show, with Paul Humphrey’s temporarily taking the reins for a couple of tracks. Each of them have incredible stage presence, with McCluskey continuously strutting around and dancing upon the spacious stage. This gave the packed out venue something to watch and follow alongside the incredible light display and graphics in the background, the stage production was next level. I was amazed at the notes that McCluskey and Humphrey’s could hit even after dancing and walking around, effortlessly demonstrating their vocal talents.

Fans were treated to a catalogue of OMD’s greatest hits, and their most recent single ‘Kleptocracy‘. The band’s songs contain dark themes and political notions somewhat hidden beneath mesmerising melodies, abstract art and intricate instrumental portions. At one point McCluskey joked that “half of the lower balcony” were stood up and dancing along to a song about murder. There was a lot of humour to balance out these darker themes, a skill portraying just how professional and talented the group truly are.

Fan-favourites including their biggest hit ‘Enola Gay‘, ‘If You Leave‘ and ‘Bahaus Staircase‘ had the entire crowd dancing and/or singing along. With visuals and graphics playing simultaneously, there was still something to enjoy if you didn’t know a track. I’d happily see OMD again in an instant.

Where many bands of as high a calibre may have retired by now, or perhaps are on their 10th farewell tour, OMD prove that their musical significance is just as prevalent now as when they released their debut album back in 1980.