Review: Pet Shop Boys Live in Toronto

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(ArjanWrites.com guest blogger Will W. saw the Pet Shop Boys perform in Toronto this weekend and wrote up a great review of the show. Thanks, Will!)

Pet Shop Boys were a surprise addition to this year's Virgin Festival, also known as V-Fest. The influencial British electronic synth-pop duo consisting of Chris Lowe (Keyboards) and Neil Tennant (Vocals), made their first visit to Toronto in three years tonight as one of the festival's headlining acts. Much controversy had arisen over the original choice of venue in Orillia, Ontario which is an hour and a half from Toronto. Festival organizers eventually decided to relocate the event to Molson Amphitheatre based on the urging of ticket buyers.

Performing in front of an audience consisting of mostly twentysomethings whom might not have been familiar with the duo's repertoire was an ambitious task, but Pet Shop Boys wowed the audience completely by the end of their hour long show.

The set was in-line with their aesthetic of multi-colour blocks/squares as seen on their latest album "Yes". Lowe operated most of the music from his computer, surrounded by an LED-lit cubicle stage right. Tennant graced the audience with his still angelic tenor vocals, backed by a team of energetic and quirky dancer/backing vocalists. Visually, the show was very dependent on Tokyo-futuristique graphic projections and fancy lighting - stunning.

Undoubtedly, the audience had seen a more scaled-back version of the show versus what an audience might see on their current "Pandemonium Tour". Based on the time constraints of setting-up in a festival, plus limitations in Molson Amphitheatre's size, this would be an understandable compromise.

Some selections from "Yes" were performed like first single "Love, Etc.", "Did You See Me Coming", "Around the World" and a mash-up of Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" with early hit "Domino Dancing". Hits like "Go West", "It's a Sin", "Suburbia" and "Always On My Mind" were clear audience favourites. Unfortunately however, many key hits were omitted tonight like "Being Boring", "Where The Streets Have No Name" and most importantly "What Have I Done To Deserve This?". Surely one of the fine female dancer/backing vocalists could have filled in on Dusty Springfield's part? The show was capped off with an encore of their first #1 hit single "West End Girls" where the audience saw both Lowe and Tennant donning flamboyant headdresses. Tennant's vocals are almost identical to how they sound on the album, a pretty amazing feat.

All in all, this was an experience not to be forgotten soon. Pet Shop Boys definitely know how to put on a fun audio/visual experience for their fans.

To see a high quality video clip of "West End Girls" which I uploaded, visit my YouTube Channel at http://youtube.com/mrwillw. Pictures of the show can be found right here.

August 31, 2009 in Guest blogger: Will W., Pet Shop Boys | Permalink | Comments (0)

Free Download: Pet Shop Boys "Yes" Compilation

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Yes! Yes! Yes. Head over here to download a compilation of tracks taken from Pet Shop Boys' new album, "Yes." Don't forget the new album is out in the U.K. on March 23. U.S. release date is scheduled for April.

March 13, 2009 in Pet Shop Boys | Permalink | Comments (3)

Video: Pet Shop Boys Perform with Brandon Flowers and Lady GaGa During Tonight's BRIT Awards

Amazing! Neil and Chris sure took this performance very seriously. The duo performed their new single, plus a compilation of some of their biggest hits at this year's BRIT Awards. After each making a cameo earlier during the 10 minute performance, The Killers' Brandon Flowers and Lady GaGa joined PSB for the show's finale of "West End Girls."

Seeing PSB and Brandon Flowers on stage is divine. Flowers must have been over the moon for the chance of joining his idols. Doesn't he look completely mesmerized and a little nervous standing next to Neil? And GaGa was wearing quite an interesting creation. Is that Delft's blue? She's looking like a Dutch cheese lady. Victor & Rolf might have had a hand in that.

I'm so looking forward to the new PSB album. Their previous album "Fundamental" had quite a few issues getting a release in the U.S. until Rhino stepped up to the plate. Hopefully, things will go a little smoother this time around.

February 18, 2009 in Pet Shop Boys | Permalink | Comments (6)

Pet Shop Boys to Perform at Tonight's BRIT Awards - Download Special Chronology

Pet Shop Boys receive the Outstanding Contribution to Music Award at tonight’s BRIT Awards at London’s Earls Court. The duo is currently putting the finishing touches to a very special performance that promises to be fantastic (and is rumored to feature Lady GaGa).

Parlophone put together a video medley of Pet Shop Boys' greatest hits as a tribute to the band. The compilation is a great reminder of how many great tunes the duo has put out over the course of their career. Its impressive stuff, and some of their best work may still be yet to come.

Pet Shop Boys release their new album “Yes” on March 23, preceded by the single “Love etc” on March 16. The track is currently Radio 2’s Single of the Week. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe's wrote and produced much of their new album with British hitmakers Xenomania (Girls Aloud, Sugababes, Gabriella Cilm).

Pet Shop Boys' label also wrote up a very lengthy chronology that details the duo's extensive career. Download it here (MS Word doc). It's a must-have for fans.

Social Note: If you're watching the BRIT Awards tonight in the U.K. make sure to share all the great moments with the ArjanWrites.com Social community.

February 18, 2009 in Pet Shop Boys | Permalink | Comments (0)

Listen to We Have Band "West End Girls" (Pet Shop Boys Cover)

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British "disco rock trio" We Have Band took on the gutsy task of revamping Pet Shop Boys classic "West End Girl," which is the first Pet Shop Boys single I remember hearing and loving (and which is arguably one of the best pop singles of the '80s).

Darren Bancroft (vocals, drums, percussion, sampler), Thomas WP (vocals, guitar, bass, programming) and Deborah WP (vocals, percussion, sampler) did a nice job giving "West End Girls" their own spin while maintaining the song's gritty undertones and doing fully justice to incisive lyrics about class that mark the original. 

Listen to We Have Band's cover of "West End Girls" after the jump.


January 16, 2009 in Pet Shop Boys | Permalink | Comments (0)