Review: Depeche Mode – A Sexy Night In Santa Barbara

If there’s one word that can define the atmosphere of a Depeche Mode concert it’s “lush.” There was a certain tinge of sensuality hovering the night as concert goers made their way up to the Santa Barbara Bowl as Warpaint songs and Theresa Wayman’s enticing vocals beckoned us to the venue.

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There seemed to be an unspoken dress code amongst the audience: clad in black attire, even better if it’s leather.

The full moon bathed the audience in its brilliance as the band emerged from the darkness opening with the song Going Backwards and the whole venue went W-I-L-D.

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Many of the songs were accompanied by amazing videos in the background, one of my favourites was that of two ballet dancers doing an intricate sensual choreography whilst Dave Gahan crooned In Your Room. Another visually stunning moment was when they displayed a video of a gender-bending musician getting dolled up before hitting the night to perform in gravity-defying stilettos as Gahan appropriately sang Walking In My Shoes throughout the video.

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Another highlight of the night was Martin Gore’s acoustic performances of A Question of Lust and Somebody where the dancing slowed to a sway and even the ones with the blackest heart found tears lingering in their eyes threatening to make their mascaras run.

Being a huge David Bowie fan, it certainly made my night when the first notes of Heroes began, and nothing drove me wilder than them closing with Personal Jesus. Cause right about now we’re all in need of reaching out and touching faith.

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SETLIST:

Going Backwards

So Much Love

Barrel of a Gun

A Pain That I’m Used To

Corrupt

In Your Room

World In My Eyes

Cover Me

A Question of Lust

Home

Poison Heart

Where’s the Revolution

Wrong

Everything Counts

Stripped

Enjoy the Silence

Never Let Me Down Again

ENCORE:

Somebody

Walking in My Shoes

Heroes

I Feel You

Personal Jesus

By: Azzurra Nox

Review: The National – Sleep Well Beast

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Sleep Well Beast is The National’s seventh studio album, and much like their previous albums they’re here to deliver us sadness by way of dreamy, layered music and moody lyrics. Many people either find this band brilliant, or utterly boring. And the easiest way for you to find out where you fall on the spectrum is to ask yourself this, “Do you like The Smiths?” Because if you do, then you’ll love the melancholy found in The National’s songs, but if you don’t, then you may feel like the suicidal-charged baritone of leadsinger Matt Berninger to be too much to deal with.

Usually all of The National’s albums are compared to Alligator because it was considered brilliant, and so subsequent albums have always had to try to outdo that one.

Like most successful bands, The National have found their winning formula, and it’s the following: Berninger’s tragic baritone voice half-singing half-murmuring anxiety-ridden lyrics over soft guitar chords, piano, rhythmic drumming, with a dash of strings and horns thrown in the mixture.

Now, Sleep Well Beast sorta sticks to this same formula as the previous albums on pretty much the majority of the tracks. Although some tracks have been amped up a little and feature a faster tempo with some subtle shouting ala Mr. November or Available, especially on the track Turtleneck where Berninger candidly let’s up know that he keeps the weed next to his bed.

Some of the strongest tracks from the album are Carin At The Liquor Store, The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness, Walk It Back, and Day I Die. To say this is record is dark and bleak is an understatement. It’s almost like watching the dissolving of a relationship, but trying not to be outwardly destructive about it, although you’re feeling like vomiting your heart as a way to get rid of your weakest organ.

This album is best for those who don’t mind drowning in sorrow and befalling some serious dose of emotion sickness. If you’re looking for something to cheer you up, look elsewhere. You’ll only find sadness in its purest, most beautiful, and bleakest form here.

Life is sad, and The National are here to remind us of that. But there’s a strange beauty in the sadness. We almost don’t mind feeling so depressed.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

By: Azzurra Nox