Simon Forsyth has had a lifelong passion for synthesizers, particularly of the analogue variety. He's worked as a keyboard tech for George Michael, Stereo MCs, Tricky, and both the West End and touring productions of Thriller. He's currently on the road with Vile Electrodes in Germany tas they support OMD.
Monday may 20th t minus 1
It is a rather grey Monday morning in Breda (south Netherlands) when we meet up again to begin our Electro-convoy. Martin and Jane have their newly acquired "Vile Wagon" with freshly tinted windows and fitted alarm. It's their first time driving on the "wrong" side of the road over here on the continent, so I agree to lead in "Nellie", my tried and trusted steed on many a Euro road trip.. 2000 miles lie ahead of us and 5 different cities await.. Hamburg is our destination today so time to start our 5 date Trans-Europe Express.
It is a very rainy Hamburg that greets us. We make a quick scouting trip to spot the venue and then retire. Busy day tomorrow.
Tuesday May 21st Gig Night!
After bagels and coffee for breakfast, it is time to load into the venue. Sound check was supposed to start at 4, but Andy and Paul's train has been delayed so we wait along with a TV crew and a familiar face who sits patiently at then side of the stage.
Andy and Paul waste no time when they arrive and dive straight into the soundcheck. After zipping through 4 numbers, Andy greets his his guest, the patient and softly spoken Karl Bartos.
Now it's time for our setup and soundcheck so up onto the stage with our 10 flightcases and many, many cables. OMD's crew seem slightly bemused and amused at the range of antiques and wires now setting up on stage. A slightly nervous looking stage manager reminds us that there is a short turnaround for packing everything down again. "Don't worry, we've been rehearsing it" I say to reassure him. Let's hope those words don't come back to bite me.
As the venue fills up, the tension rises for the opening gig. The 30 minute slot passes in no time at all but thankfully everything runs as it should and the audience is very receptive.
Pack down time!
With a surprising amount of coordination we strip down the Heath-Robinson Rig. Martin unplugs, I pack into cases and hand off to two local guys to get everything off stage. The final bundle of wires is dumped into a large bag to be sorted later. Our pack down in under 10 minutes even raises a small round of applause from the audience.
OMD, unsurprisingly pull off a very polished and solid performance and with the sound system shaking the whole house.
The front of house using Digidesign Venue Profile console and delivering to the Coda Viray Sound system. The system is surprisingly compact and light and yet delivers a very big and punchy sound.
Spirits are high post-gig and even loading into the van in the pouring rain can't dampen them.. With the gear packed we return backstage and finally have a few minutes to chat with our gracious hosts Andy Mclusky and Paul Humphries.
Andy also introduces Karl Bartos, a thoroughly charming man who really needs no introduction as one of the principal members of Kraftwerk and something of a musical god to both OMD and Vile Electrodes. So, tonight in Hamburg we now have 3 generations of Electronic music creation sat sharing anecdotes and drinking..
Not bad for a first night.. Tomorrow Bielefeld