Brothers Ron (keyboards) and Russell Mael (vocals) have been going as the outfit Sparks for thirty-eight years now. And Paul, Mike, Stu and I had the delight to go and see them perform on Saturday night at the Carling Academy Islington. Sparks were performing their seventeenth album Plagiarism, a sort of tribute album out in 1998 and probably the nearest thing they had to a greatest hits collection at the time.
Sparks have influenced many bands over the years - inventing the synth-duo-with-the-antimated-singer-and-the-miserable-keyboardist much copied by the likes of Depeche Mode, New Order, Erasure, Pet Shop Boys and Soft Cell.
As it was, on Saturday night the boys didn't disappoint; Russ's voice was as good as ever and Ron stood there as stoic as ever. The sound was great too. A string section, a brass section and a lively band gave the electronic sounds a depth and vibrancy. We were treated to the Giorgio Moroder produced Beat The Clock, Something For The Girl With Everything, Popularity, Change, Funny Face, Popularity and the sublime This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us. As an encore they were joined on stage by Jimmy Sommerville to perform The Number One Song In Heaven. Magic.