If you’re a fan of the synth sound of the early 80’s, this month you’ll be in for a treat. On Thursday 19th December, music legend Midge Ure brings his Vienna and Best of Visage tour to Paard, one of the best intimate music venues in the Netherlands. Midge is famous enough thanks to his band/Live Aid efforts and his time fronting Ultravox, that he doesn’t need a boost from me to sell tickets.
This piece is about the band who supports him, and as with many synth bands from the heyday, they have a great and unusual name! They are Tiny Magnetic Pets, commonly known simply as TMP. I am a fan of OMD and they supported them two years ago around the UK. I never saw them as I usually do not rate support bands. However, I heard from many OMD fans about how good they were. Now two years later, TMP are supporting OMD again, this time around Europe. I also learned they would be the support for Midge’s tour. So While following OMD around Europe, I made sure I got to watch TMP in action.
Was I disappointed? No. I was actually blown away by their sound; it was like being transported back in time to my music era. TMP are a three piece band and Paula Gilmer, the singer gives off a true 80’s vibe. Her good looks, her dance style and a voice that when you close your eyes, transports you back to a time when music was more bouncy and uplifting.
The beat is provided by Eugene Somers. For me, one of the best sounds in music is that produced by a synthesized drum. His stage persona is very chilled. With headphones on he provides the backing track that was synonymous with bands such as The Human League, Gary Numan etc. He is lost in the music, always smiling and singing along to the tracks.
Finally there is Sean Quinn on the keyboards. I know I am biased, but I love the emotive sounds synthesizers produce. It is a sound that fills the body with an energy that for me isn’t matched by any other instrument. Be it soulful, dynamic or just simplistic eighties pop, Sean gets it spot on each time.
The dynamic of the group is fun, Paula teases her band mates throughout the show, making both her male colleagues break into smiles, something which was seen as uncool by the synth pop pioneers. I can see why OMD have got them to support them twice in two years and why Midge Ure has chosen them. As well as these two tours, they have been gaining popularity at festivals. A fan base is growing nicely and with a new album out next year, all is looking bright for TMP. They are playing songs from their new album and I have to say, it will be on my shopping list in 2020.
I caught up with TMP after they performed in Hamburg. Paula saying how much they are enjoying the tours with both bands. She is pleased with how they are being received across Europe and is well aware of how lucky they are to have the backing of such 80’s synth pop icons. During the show, she mentions her thanks to OMD for all they have done. Eugene was excited about the upcoming release and was loving the crowds reaction to the band as they were swamped with admirers wanting autographs, photos and purchasing some of the bands back catalogue.
Tiny Magnetic Pets have been just under the mainstream radar for a while, they are sure to break it big soon. They have a sound that has been missing for quite some from the top of the music charts. On stage they even joke that coming from Ireland, you have U2 and Enya and that maybe being the only synth band in the country that they are probably looked upon as the weird ones.
So if you are a child of the synth era, go and spoil yourself with a night of nostalgia at the Paard on the 19th, you won’t be disappointed!
Tickets available here https://www.paard.nl/en/event/midge-ure-band-electronica/
Text: Neal McClimon