by Rob Levy
The Fixx The Old Rock House August 22,2012
At a time when many new wave bands are reforming just for the sake of cashing on nostalgia the Fixx is having none of that.
Thanks in part to their energized fanbase, the Fixx continues to tour with the same spark and passion it had "back in the day." While frontman Cy Curnin has aged since the '80s, his voice shows no signs of wear. The rest of the band is not too shabby either. James-West-Oram remains a greatly overlooked guitar player and Adam Woods drumming perfectly frames the band's textures. Dan K. Brown is a solid bass player whose licks make their tunes so memorable while keyboardist Rupert Greenall provides an ample amount of atmospheric heft to their sound.
For over three decades this quintet has combined Cy Curnin's politcal lyrics and themes of social turmoil, isolation and apprehension with driving melodies, crisp percussion and enough oh-oh-oh's to please a Eurocup crowd.
While many of their contemporaries have fizzled out, these men have weathered the storm by releasing their tenth studio album, Beautiful Friction. Their first new offering since 2003 is a collection of songs that represents their view of the contemporary world around them.
Despite their catchy melodies and terrific guitar hooks, they have never shied away from making statements in their music. This trend continues in their new material -- you can't avoid hearing smatterings of the Occupy Movement throughout the album.
In support of the record, they brought their month-long American tour to the Old Rock House last night.
Although the band has aged gracefully, its fans have not forgotten the old days. "They used to be on MTV every day. I came home after school and their videos were always on," says an avid fan entering the venue.
It is this dedication to the music that has stoked the fire and brought the band back on the road for this go around. The gestalt of exuberance between the musicians and their faithful disciples propelled them onstage for over ninety minutes.
Their set began with a loud roar from the audience as they cut into their classic "Deeper And Deeper" before a chatty and confident Curnin segued the set into their latest record by proclaiming "We have new music." The Fixx then unveiled its latest material with "Anyone Else, "Just Before Dawn" and "Take A Risk". These songs saw the band charting some heavier waters by blending some bar band rock n' roll oomph into their material. Another newie, "Beautiful Fiction"changed things up, showing some melodic restraint via a fragile melody supported by more subdued vocals. "Outside" slowed the pace down a bit with Rupert Greenall's sweeping synths and great guitar work from James West-Oram.
"One Thing Leads To Another" brought on the first audience singalong of the evening as Curnin whipped the audience into a frenzy. Clearly enjoying the moment, the singer smiled as he worked the room.
"The Fool" picked up the tempo with a driving beat, knockabout percussion and jangly guitars that got the crowd going. Next, the band stated its case with "Stand Or Fall," which was reborn as a toe tapping stomper. "Saved By Zero" closed out the set and was met with wild jubilation. It remains just a haunting today as it did in 1983.
The encore began with the percussion grooviness of "Shaman" before moving into more classic terrain with a terrific rendition of "Red Skies" that led into a bashed out version of "Are We Ourselves?"
The finale "Secret Separation," was a show stopper thanks to Curnin's sly nod to Tina Turner's "Better Be Good To Me" by incorporating elements of the song into the bridge (he and West-Oram worked on her Private Dancer album).
The Fixx was well received by an audience of ebullient devotees whose applause gave the band more energy. It was refreshing to see these guys feed off of that as they delivered a fresher sound, rebooted by experience and renewed by a new sense of purpose. It is obvious that after three decades of making music together this band is still having a lot of fun.
Setlist for the Fixx at The Old Rock House, St. Louis, MO, August 22,2012
Deeper And Deeper Anyone Else Just Before Dawn Take A Risk How Much Is Enough? Driven Out Beautiful Friction What God Outside One Thing Leads To Another The Fool Stand or Fall Woman On A Train Fatal Shore Saved By Zero Encore Shaman Red Skies Are We Ourselves? Secret Seperation