Last night at the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge, one of my favorite Boston Venues, Poptone featuring Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins of Bauhaus/Tones on Tail/Love and Rockets fame, along with Diva Dompe (Kevin’s daughter) took the stage to a half full room. Which I shouldn’t be surprised at as Depeche Mode didn’t sell out the Garden two weeks earlier, and I should stop looking at the Boston fan base as having the same interests or taste as my home of Los Angeles. But to see that room half full for this line up, was disappointing for me, and had to be for the band as well.
Poptone had published the set list long before the current tour, so the only real surprise was the amount of songs cut from the set. Daniel claimed from the stage to have the flu before calling it a night after doing the Tones on Tail staple “Go” as the only song for the encore. Poptone did end up playing dark, edgy and aggressive in ways that Love and Rockets or Bauhaus never got to. After the opening with the surprisingly slow “I Feel Speed” referencing Daniels ongoing love affair with motorcycles, the band broke into a much more aggressive “Haunted When the Minutes Drag” and having seen David J’s solo version of the same song a couple years back, I personally had much more fun with Poptone’s take on the Love and Rockets classic. Was slightly disappointed that my personal favorite track “All In My Mind” was cut from the set, but “Movement of Fear,” “Lions,” and “Christian Says” more than made up for what was lost.
Daniel’s guitar work was as amazing as ever and really cemented his place in the echelon of guitar masters, and I had forgotten just how much of a perfect machine Kevin Haskins is on the drums, both were in fantastic form, Flu or not, and Diva was more than capable on bass, and there was no loss at all with her on the stage, and after not touring for over a decade, before hitting the road last year, seeing Daniel and Kevin together and clicking on stage is more than worth getting off your ass, turning off Netflix, and getting out to see a show. Boston, you should be ashamed of yourself for missing this.