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Marc Almond, HMV Picture House

The two cuddly toys perched side by side on a stool at the front of the stage don't really fit in with the mirror ball and after-hours pink lighting that sets the mood with the sort of contradictions which has defined Marc Almond's career, from the kitchen-sink sleaze of Soft Cell to torch singing drama queen and beyond.

Last year he performed at the Traverse Theatre in Ten Plagues, a darkly dissonant song cycle by playwright Mark Ravenhill and composer Conor Mitchell. For this current Pop Troubadour, Hits And More Tour, Almond has lightened up considerably to revisit a back catalogue that stretches out over more than 30 years.

He opens with the call to arms of The Stars We Are, a sweepingly rich scene-setter that already sounds triumphant. Sporting a shimmery black shirt that billows as he strikes poses, Almond is backed by a piano-led band augmented by accordionist and larger-than-life support act Baby Dee, last seen in these parts at Arika's Instal festival in Glasgow.

All of this lends a sprightliness to a show that flits from hit to hit, with Almond energised by the warmth of the response.

A mid-set Jacques Brel section sees Almond accompanied by solo piano on If You Go Away, before the band rejoin him to gallop through Jackie and a countrified The Days Of Pearly Spencer. Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart is dedicated to the late Gene Pitney, before the show climaxes with a Soft Cell trilogy of Tainted Love, What? and Say Hello Wave Goodbye. For a version of T-Rex's Hot Love, Almond let his hair down for the cuddliest of finales.


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