Sparks - The Arches, Glasgow, Mon 25 Nov 2013 (4 stars)

This article is from 2013

Sparks - The Arches, Glasgow, Mon 25 Nov 2013

credit: Stewart Fullerton

Two-man show from art-pop maestros is an unbridled joy

Sparks have a knack for turning concepts associated with worthy rock authenticity – classic album shows, stripped-down sets – into art-pop magic. This two-man show begins with a brace of songs from 2002’s brilliant Lil’ Beethoven. ‘Your Call’s Very Important To Us. Please Hold.’ is reworked as a Russell Mael solo shot, his vocals looped up in real time. Enter Ron Mael, who pounds out the massive Chicago house piano riff of the magnificent ‘How Do I Get To Carnegie Hall?’, the audience quickly picking up the refrain, ‘Practice, man, practice!’

Sparks are up there with Cole Porter and Leonard Cohen as the funniest men in pop, genuinely witty and humane. In lesser hands, extracts from an opera about Ingmar Bergman could be unbearably arch. The Brothers Mael manage to combine affectionate mockery of Bergman's miserablist persona with an affecting sense of existential dread.

From the tacky tiger glam of ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us’, to the hubristic synth-pop of ‘When Do I Get To Sing “My Way”?’, the show is an unbridled joy. The disco encore of ‘Number One Song In Heaven’ is utterly euphoric, Russell’s still-fabulous falsetto soaring over Ron’s trancey synth throb.

Sparks - This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us

Sparks - The Number One Song In Heaven

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information displayed here is accurate, always check with the venue before attending (especially during the Covid-19 pandemic).


The genre-defying, groundbreaking Mael brothers take their dramatic glam-pop sound on tour.

Albert Hall, Manchester

Thu 20 May

Sold out / 0161 817 3490

Thu 14 Apr 2022

Prices to be confirmed / 0161 817 3490

Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow

Wed 13 Apr 2022

£33.75 / 0141 552 4601

De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea

Fri 28 May

Cancelled / 01424 229111

Sat 16 Apr 2022

Prices to be confirmed / 01424 229111

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