Underrated Synth Pop Greats A Flock of Seagulls to Play Cincinnati This Spring

The trailblazing ’80s band led by singer/synth player Mike Score is scheduled to perform April 18 at Clifton's Ludlow Garage

Feb 4, 2020 at 12:57 pm
click to enlarge Mike Score as rendered on the cover of A Flock of Seagulls 2019 remix album 'Inflight: Extended Essentials' - August Day
August Day
Mike Score as rendered on the cover of A Flock of Seagulls 2019 remix album 'Inflight: Extended Essentials'

Eighties Synth Pop greats A Flock of Seagulls will be performing in Cincinnati this spring.

Clifton's Ludlow Garage has announced that the band will perform at the venue on April 18.

Tickets ($35-$65) go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. via ticketmaster.com.

Formed in Liverpool, England in 1979, A Flock of Seagulls scored a huge hit with 1982 "I Ran (So Far Away)" thanks to heavy airplay on MTV. The band was part of many Americans' first exposure to Synth Pop and Electronic music, and many would dismiss the act as nothing more than flamboyant hair-cuts making synthetic sounds. In the "I Ran" video, Score is also seen playing his synth with just a single finger on a key, which fed into the pushback against AFoS — some deemed it not "real music," a common criticism of burgeoning genres in their formative stages among mainstream music fans.

But A Flock of Seagulls had some legitimately excellent, highly memorable songs. "Space Age Love Song" and "Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)" are some of the best Pop songs of the ’80s.

Going back and listening to the band's self-titled debut is revelatory. Hearing it with the perspective of nearly four decades of music inspired by AFoS and their ilk, the album sounds remarkably fresh and not quite as dated as you might remember. If you played some of their early material for a younger, unfamiliar music fan and told them it was released last month, they likely wouldn't question you at all.

A Flock of Seagulls might technically be a "one-hit wonder" but their catalog includes many could've-been hits. They're still underrated and maligned by some (their name has been used steadily as a punchline in pop culture, featured as gags in everything from Friends to Pulp Fiction), but it's your loss if you let the haircut jokes stop you from digging into their past — particularly if you are a fan of present-day synth acts.

In the ’00s, the original lineup — Mike and Ali Score (vocals/keys/guitar and drums, respectively), bassist Frank Maudsley and guitarist Paul Reynolds (who joined in 1980) —— reunited for a brief U.S. tour, though Mike Score has largely toured as the only original member of AFoS. In 2017, the classic lineup reconvened to record Ascension, their first album together since 1984. Released in 2018, Ascension featured one new track and re-recordings of several of their earlier songs with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.

Most of the group's U.S. concerts over the past few years have been billed as Score-only shows, so it seems unlikely the classic lineup will be performing at the upcoming Cincinnati show.