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Pop Music Review : Spandau Goes Through Its Poses At Universal

April 23, 1985|RICHARD CROMELIN

The harder singer Tony Hadley worked during Spandau Ballet's concert Saturday at the Universal Amphitheatre, the sillier he seemed. And the looser he got, the more irritating he became--you felt a little embarrassed for him, as you might for a tipsy rich kid making a spectacle of himself at a college party.

This seems to be an inherent problem: Hadley looks like George Hamilton trying to play a rocker, and despite his energetic prancing and standard audience-stroking, there's something sour in his makeup. The other members of the English band--including chief songwriter/guitarist Gary Kemp and his bassist brother, Martin--don't add much warmth to the proceedings. Spandau is the quintessential poseur group--a Wham! without the musical craftsmanship, a Duran Duran without the high-tech glamour.

This was the minority view at the Amphitheatre, where Spandau drew a full house of screaming fans. The band also headlined Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre during the weekend, raising the obvious question: If Spandau has such a large and avid following, why did its last album, "Parade," stiff? Especially when it followed the group's Top 10 breakthrough, "True."

Anyway, the group played its light dance-rock and simpering ballads with competence if not a lot of conviction, and the crowd danced and swayed and seemed to approve. Why Spandau's shrill-sounding, starchy imitations of soul music and secondhand Roxy Music imagery should command any real loyalty is a tough question--almost as tough as why the Kemp brothers' pants are falling off in the poster they were selling in the lobby.

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