Marking 40 years of Altered Images’ 1983 third studio album, ‘Bite’, singer Clare Grogan’s recently reformed band performed the album in track order for the first time in 38 years, followed by a set of other favourites.

Looking chic in a black evening dress and organza sleeves, Grogan and her backing band went straight into the album’s first track ‘Bring Me Closer’; the boxy disco-funk single included a saxophone solo played by Andrew. Afterwards, she emotionally spoke about being overwhelmed by doing the show and the positive response to her return to performing the band’s music.

Grogan then played ‘Love to Stay’; unfortunately the chiming keys throughout the album were mere backing tracks due to the absence of a live keyboard player as they had back in the day, but retained the dreamy post-punk guitar also of the earlier albums, although by the release of ‘Bite’ they had developed a more streamlined pop sound, as seen in ‘Now That You’re Here’, but with thunderous drumming. Another of the album tracks, the stripped down ‘Stand So Quiet’, sounded like a cross between The Banshees and Simple Minds, with Grogan accentuating her voice. They also performed third album single, ‘Change of Heart’.

For the second set and after an outfit change, Altered Images played a mixture of classic and new album material beginning on ‘I Could Be Happy’, a Blondiesque track, and title track ‘Mascara Streakz’ – a disco dream-pop single. They harkened back to their John Peel sessions with their debut 1981 single ‘Dead Pop Stars’ containing a phenomenal hammering bass and drum intro. Grogan performed more new tracks with ‘Double Reflection’ and ‘Glitter Ball’, produced by Suede’s Bernard Butler, before ending the show on ‘Happy Birthday’, their 1981 hit single.

26/10/23: Altered Images @ 229 The Venue, London.

Photos © Fernanda Bavaresco.

© Ayisha Khan.