Blackpool might have lost its Las Vegas tag recently but it’s still up there in the must play tick list box of 1980s chart stars Hue & Cry.
Aka brothers Pat and Greg Kane, Hue & Cry are back on the road and launching the Hot Wire Stripped version of their latest tour at Blackpool’s Sands Venue on Central Promenade tomorrow.
To their still strong fan base it might not seem to be most obvious choice of venue but Pat explains: “I’ve done a lot of work in Blackpool, I’m a great fan of seaside towns and I’ve always wanted to play Sands in Las Vegas – so it’s a bit a of a weigh station towards that.”
It’s not the oddest venue on the door – that title probably goes to Darwen Library where they’ll be on Friday but the Stripped version builds to a special full band gig at the O2 Academy in London next month.
“Stripped is more me and Greg and some computers performing music from the new Hot Wire album and some of our hits and back catalogue,” says Pat. “There’s also a music workshop in the middle which is a bit of an insight into how we get round to doing what we do.”
So how will that fit in the cabaret, food and drink setting of the Sands Venue?
“My great hero is Frank Sinatra and some of his best material was recorded in a live setting with cutlery sounds in the background,” he says. “Anyway its not as if we are rock and roll – our music has always been more a fusion of pop and soul and jazz.”
Their early hits such as Looking for Linda and Labour of Love certainly fall into that category and their sound is still very much that way inclined on new album Hot Wire.
“We’ve been planning the tour around the album for about six months now,” said Pat. “We have a very vibrant fan website and we use a lot of interactive technology. We’ve been able to work out geographical Hue & Cry hotspots – and Blackpool is one of them.”
He admits that in their initial hit making days neither he or Greg imagined how high tech things would become.
“In the 80s you just had to turn up and plug in for Top of the Pops or Radio 1 and people either bought your material on the back of that or they didn’t. Now things are much more entrepreneurial what with multi channels and everything else. You’ve got to be grown up about it and accept the changes..”
Even after all this time he says it’s never a problems coming up with new music. Ideas can come from anywhere,” he says. “Sometimes it’s just a riff or a line, sometimes the whole song can arrive intact. The only issue is getting people to pay attention to it.
The band is still “all about live” he says.
“It’s great being back on tour,” he says. “The centre of gravity has changed since the 80s – we’re smaller scale but work more regularly!
Premier Inns cost buttons and there’s free Wifi around. It used to be all Jack Daniels and endless beauties – now it’s a comfortable bed and a good night’s sleep!”
As for the fans they span all age groups – which means their set has to contain elements from as many of their albums as possible.
“I’ve always wanted to do a sort of Wheel of Fortune like Elvis Costello did where a spin would come up with random songs to perform. But our memories aren’t that good so the best we can do is accept requests and if we’re caught out, go away and re-learn the song and perform it later in the tour!”
n Hue & Cry, Sands Venue tomorrow. Ticket details (with or without meal) from (01253) 625262.