Marking their 40th year with a special anniversary tour, post-funk Factory records pioneers, A Certain Ratio, performed a career spanning set in the wake of their latest 54-track box set compilation release, ‘ACR:BOX’.

The band’s original members Jez Kerr (lead vocals, bass), Martin Moscrop (guitar, trumpet, drums) and Donald Johnson (drums, vocals, bass) arrived onstage to start the evening on ‘All Night Party’, Factory’s first-ever single artist release. Kerr’s monotone, gloomy lyrics contrasted against the added keyboard effects (played by new keyboardist Matt Steele) enlivened the song from its stripped down beginnings.

ACR moved onto their third single, ‘Flight’, with backing vocalist Denise Johnson joining them onstage. They also performed brand new single edit ‘Houses In Motion’, the Talking Heads cover the band were supposed to record with Grace Jones which features on their box set. Denise also remained onstage for the rarely played ‘Sextet’ album track ‘Lucinda’ and ‘Be What You Wanna Be’; a mixed dance-funk track.

Another rarity arrived in the form of ‘Mickey Way’, a B-side of an Australasia-only release, which saw Moscrop scaling notes on the trumpet. The band, now with previous keyboard player Liam Mullan making a guest appearance, performed a new recording of their 1990 single, ‘Won’t Stop Loving You’, also on the new box set, which Kerr dedicated to the late Rob Gretton, manager of New Order.

ACR’s special guest, fellow Mancunian artist Barry Adamson, was invited to join them for the two tracks they recorded together last year around Adamson’s own 40th anniversary celebrations, the second of which was a contemporary electronic dance remix of ‘I’ve Got Clothes’, developed from his 2017 EP, ‘Love Sick Dick’. Adamson also returned for the encore – an anniversary slideshow playing in the background – with the night ending on their whistle-laden salsa staple ‘Si Fermir O Grido’ and them all coming offstage into the disabled seating area with their percussion instruments where they finished playing the rest of the song.

04/05/19: A Certain Ratio @ Islington Assembly Hall, London.

Photo (top) © Laura Kate Bemrose.

All other photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.