The 80s – a much maligned decade for music but dig deep and there was plen­ty to enjoy. I’m a fan of my office’s occa­sion­al “Pow­er Bal­lad Thurs­days”. Instead of a sea of hunched com­put­er nerds nod­ding along to their own pri­vate world via their head­phones, we’re all shar­ing the moment as Africa by Toto and Urgent by For­eign­er blast out over the speak­ers. There’s also a fris­son of sat­is­fac­tion if you can be the one to unearth a tune every­one else has for­got­ten. Glo­ria by Lau­ra Brani­gan is my cur­rent fave 80s pick. But before I digress fur­ther… there was a lot more going on in that scrunchie and pirate-pant filled decade. One reminder was Blue Zoo who played last week at 02 Acad­e­my 2, Isling­ton. The band orig­i­nal­ly formed in 1980, and although suc­cess was com­ing their way, they split up in 1985. They reformed in 2010, with their album Two by Two rere­leased in 2013.

As in their for­mer days, Blue Zoo’s front man and vocal­ist is still the charis­mat­ic Andy O. I remem­ber him from his days with fore­run­ner out­fit, Mod­ern Jazz (with Dave Wolf­son on key­boards). The years have been good to Andy, he’s remained lean and youth­ful look­ing, still able to project a for­mi­da­ble vocal range with the occa­sion­al yelps which remind me of Suede’s Brett Ander­son. In anoth­er life, Andy could equal­ly be at home in musi­cal the­atre with his intu­itive sense of the dra­mat­ic. The newest mem­ber of the band is Tom E Mor­ri­son, a vet­er­an of the music indus­try as pro­duc­er, writer and gui­tarist, and he also per­forms with Bliss. With his moody Robert Smith style make­up and on-stage swag­ger, Tom steals – or shares – some of Andy’s limelight.


The band play num­bers from album Two by Two, and the sin­gle Ivory Tow­ers. A high­light is the bal­lad Love Moves in Strange Ways. It’s a hyp­not­ic num­ber, and was a per­fect song in its time for moments of teenage love angst. The song still man­ages to exert a strange power.


“This dis­trac­tion, turns me side­ways..”, yes, it’s time for the finale, Japan-esque pow­er­ful hit sin­gle Cry Boy Cry, which gets the entire audi­ence join­ing in with the cho­rus. Blue Zoo were a band who dis­ap­peared before their time, so it’s good to see them back togeth­er again.




WHO: Blue Zoo plus The Plexiphones
WHEN: April 4, 2014
WHERE: O2 Acad­e­my 2 Isling­ton London
TICKETS: £12 approx

3 thoughts on “Animal magic with Blue Zoo, 02 Academy Islington

  1. Ah the eight­ies… start­ed with Two Tone and end­ed with Nine Inch Nails and Kylie and Jason. As with most decades it tends to go in half decades, or mid decade to mid decade.

    1. yes, punk did that, arise mid decade. I’m not too sure when you can say it ‘end­ed’ – that’s a lot less defined and then there’s the US/UK debate. I was­n’t too sure if ‘Pow­er bal­lad thurs/whatever days’ are a reg­u­lar office thing across the coun­try or if it’s just mine. Have you heard of it?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *