Reviews

Poptone @ The Fillmore Silver Spring – July 1st 2018

Poptone @ The Fillmore Silver Spring

If Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins’ musical careers had simply ended with Bauhaus, they would have still gone down in history as two of the most influential musicians of the 80s. As one of the early progenitors of gothic rock, the band set the stage for numerous artists who followed after. But after Bauhaus split in 1983, the pair went on to form Tones on Tail with bassist Glen Campling, releasing a series of singles and an album (Pop), before being re-joined by Bauhaus bassist David J (Haskins, Kevin’s brother) to form Love and Rockets. Love and Rockets split in 1999, and a Bauhaus reunion likewise ended in 2008, but it turned out not to be the end for the duo. Last year, Ash and Haskins reconvened again, this time with Haskins’ daughter Diva Dompé filling the bass role, and formed a new band called Poptone (after the Public Image Ltd. song, as well as a play on both Tones On Tail and one of their best-known songs, “Ok This Is the Pops”) to celebrate their extensive musical legacy. The trio has toured widely since, and in December released a self-titled live-in-the-studio album. On Sunday evening, the trio closed out their latest round of touring at The Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Opening with the atmospheric “I Feel Speed” from Love and Rockets’ 1989 self-titled album, the trio played a set consisting of some of the best songs from both that band (including “Haunted When the Minutes Drag,” “Mirror People,” “No Big Deal,” and their cover of The Temptations’ “Ball of Confusion”) and Tones On Tail (including “Movement of Fear,” “Burning Skies,” and “Christian Says”). For the most part, they stuck fairly closely to the original sound of the songs, but they didn’t sound dated. And for many of the fans in attendance, it was their first chance to hear many of these tracks performed live, making the experience that much more special.

Ash had been sick with the flu recently (having cancelled a show in New York only a few nights before because of it), and apologized that he was doing the best he could, but he sounded great and it would have been hard to tell that he was having difficulty if he hadn’t said anything. Still, that may explain the ending of the evening, where after two encores (the Tones On Tail classic “Go!” as well as the only Bauhaus song of the night, “Slice of Life”), he exclaimed “And that’s it, that’s the end of this band. Poptone is no more. See you in the next lifetime.” before stalking off stage. It was certainly a downer note to end the show on. Whether he was serious about it, or whether it was simply illness and end-of-tour fatigue talking, only time will tell. Hopefully this won’t be the last we hear from them.

Opening the band were young electro trio Automatic, featuring Haskins’ other daughter Lola Dompé on drums, along with keyboardist Izzy Glaudini and bassist Halle Gaines. They played an energetic set drawing from their recently released self-titled debut EP. Since it was the last night of the tour, they closed the set being joined by Diva Dompé and several members of the touring crew for a cover of David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust.”

Poptone

Automatic

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