The crowd at The Fillmore Silver Spring recently knew they were in for a good set at the very start of the show when synthesist Mike Score and his bandmates began with “Modern Love Is Automatic” from the 1982 self-titled debut album by A Flock of Seagulls. The thrilling signature AFOS electronic sound rippled like a shockwave through the packed music venue from the first first notes.
On Dec. 2, Score and three fellows — two of them somewhat new to the band — injected a great deal of rock and roll into the slick new wave compositions that put the frontman and his original band on the map 40 years ago. The best-know numbers hailed from that first record and its follow-up, Listen (1983), but A Flock of Seagulls kept the room enthralled also with lesser-known selections from The Light at the End of the World (1995) and three catchy new, unreleased songs.
Everyone who sees a Flock of Seagulls wants to hear the band perform “I Ran (So Far Away),” the immediately identifiable dance hit single that everyone can name. And A Flock of Seagulls obliged, closing their 15-song set with the iconic song.
Watch the official music video for “I Ran (So Far Away)” by A Flock of Seagulls on YouTube:
Mike Score is a songwriter with an ear for amazing hooks, and so there are way more worthy songs in the AFOS catalog. His band are well-versed in those songs to the point where they certainly can play them comfortably but they also add dimensions of playful personality to them in their stage show. Bassist Pando has been with Mike the longest, standing to Mike’s side since 2004. His rhythmic skills were vital to the Seagulls live show. Drummer Kevin Rankin (joined in 2016) and guitarist Good Deppe (2017) played fast and relaxed and they hit every beatiful note with panache.
In the show’s wind-down, A Flock of Seagulls performed two very good first-album songs that are just as good as “I Ran” if not better — “Telecommunication” and “Space Age Love Song.” As the show progressed, Mike got more chatty, and the audience responded warmly to his banter. He riffed on how he thought he was dating an alien at one point, which inspired the idea behind “Space Age Love Song.” The audience applauded with enthusiasm when asked if they too believed in aliens.
Prior to closing the show with “I Ran,” A Flock of Seagulls presented “Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You,” another great song with prominent sparkling synths. During this song as all others, the sound was crystal clear, and the musicians played with heart and skill. Every song sounded superb.
The nearly full house also embraced new songs — “Him” at the one-third mark and “Lovers/Strangers” and “Some Dreams” at around the two-thirds mark of the setlist. The songs suggested a new album of original material might be in the works? This DC-area appearance was a rare headlining appearance by A Flock of Seagulls in the National Capital Region, and it suggested that perhaps the band have more to come in the near future.
The Fillmore Silver Spring concert capped a run of fall dates for a Flock of Seagulls, who at the least are returning for winter dates that include shows in Florida. Mike and the band were in really strong form, and they hopefully will return to share more of their magnificent sound in the near future.
Here are some photos of A Flock of Seagulls performing at The Fillmore Silver Spring on Dec. 2, 2023. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Nalinee Darmrong.
A Flock of Seagulls appeared with Strangelove, a Depeche Mode cover band, as opener. Here are a few photos of Strangelove opening A Flock of Seagulls at The Fillmore Silver Spring on Dec. 2, 2023. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Nalinee Darmrong.