Has popular music ever been so unpopular? Walk through a London bar and you're more likely to hear someone discussing a new Berlin-based producer who creates music with shoelaces than you are a discussion about 'popular' music. Pop is dirty, pop is your friend Jack who still listens to Mumford & Sons, pop is a WKD on a table of IPAs.
The problem is, there's a lot of bad pop music. Pop music that is secondary to the artist's new fragrance, or to boost a TV career. Nobody takes pop seriously anymore...
...apart from Hurts.
Walking through the doors of Brixton Academy on Saturday night felt like a weight being lifted off 4,900 people shoulders. At last, an atmosphere in which we could all accept that pop, when done well, is a wonderful thing. Acting as brand ambassadors for '80s pop, Hurts provided one of the most theatrical and fun (music can be fun, remember) sets I've witnessed.
Hurts, now three albums deep, have an exceptional and surprisingly eclectic repertoire that stretches from the heartbreaking Blood, Tears and Gold, to the genuinely euphoric Better Than Love, with the funky Lights finding itself somewhere in between the tears and dancing.
Theo Hutchcraft is transforming into the most exciting performers in music. Sprinting from one side of the vast Brixton Academy stage to the other during almost every song and collapsing to his knees during the encore, this is a man who knows how to work a crowd and, more importantly, loves every second.
Miracle, taken from second album 'Exile' is an early highlight, along with newer tunes Weight of the World and the irresistible Some Kind of Heaven. Lights shows off another side to Hurts before the knockout blow of Sunday, Sandman, Wonderful Life and Better Than Love all in the space of fifteen minutes.
I was planning to go off on a tangent about why Hurts aren't higher up festival bills, why their albums aren't consistent top five hits and why there seems to be such an under-appreciation of what they're doing. But, we know why. Pop's a dirty word, remember?
I, for one, will be picking up that WKD.
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