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

This article is from 2013.

Sparks - The Arches, Glasgow, Mon 25 Nov 2013

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


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

O2 ABC, Glasgow

Tue 22 May

Prices to be confirmed / 0141 332 2232

O2 Academy Leeds

Wed 23 May

Prices to be confirmed / 0844 477 2000

O2 Forum, London NW5

Thu 24 May

Prices to be confirmed / 0203 362 4110

Post a comment