Seventy bands down the line, the 6 Music Festival’s glorious Glasgow sojourn went out on a high with its most prestigious booking, as adored arena rockers Depeche Mode returned to play the Barrowland ballroom for the first time since 1984. Virtually unrecognisable as the callow Basildon synth popsters of yore, the Depeche Mode of 2017 rode into town as alternative rock titans to take the venue, recast as an enchanted neon forest for the occasion, by industrial force.
Depeche Mode ****
Given the promotional profile of the festival, tracks from their menacing new album Spirit figured prominently in the set. The likes of Going Backwards, Where’s the Revolution and So Much Love sounded much more muscular live, the latter affording frontman Dave Gahan his first opportunity for flamboyant flouncing, throwing Christ-like poses and stalking the stage with a louche lurch.
His charismatic playfulness was intoxicating but never to the detriment of their seductive machine music. From the throbbing Corrupt to the rallying chant of Home, they maintained a satisfying ratio of melody to heaviness throughout.
A 75-minute set just wasn’t long enough to sate the appetite nor, it transpired, to deliver much in the way of greatest hits. But when they did delve into the goodie bag, they made it count, Gahan camping up the dissolute preacher act on the stomping, testifying Personal Jesus, probably converting some unbelievers along the way, while their moody classic Enjoy the Silence was jammed out a little superfluously into an electro funk diversion.