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Sun, January 22 @ 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm

22nd January 2023

This month we take the opportunity to present one of Mute Records early pioneering post-punk classics, Fad Gadget’s ‘Fireside Favourites’.

Between punk’s fading light and the dawn of evolving new wave synth bands, such as Human League, OMD & Ultravox, came the impossible to describe Fad Gadget. Frank Tovey’s (for he is, indeed, Fad Gadget) debut album emerged upon an unsuspecting world in 1980. ‘Fireside Favourites’ is a great mixture of post-punk with minimal punk driven synth containing that dark, anxious and cold side of post-punk and fusing it with the energetic side of synth pop for a futuristic and hypnotic listen.

‘Fireside Favourites’ was the third album to be released by the nascent Mute imprint and the first LP by the sorely-missed, still woefully-overlooked Frank Tovey. Tovey’s early work as Fad Gadget played an enormously significant role in the development of Mute’s creative aesthetic, beginning with the Daniel Miller produced ‘Back to Nature’ single and continuing with this album. Recorded in June 1980 and released in September of the same year, the music developed the primitive industrial sound of his first recordings, the singles “Back to Nature” (1979) and “Ricky’s Hand” (1980). Realised with an expanded array of collaborators, including a number of notable record producers, the album’s instrumentation combined the synthesizers, drum machines and found sounds of previous releases with conventional guitar, bass and percussion.

The lyrics and subject matter ridiculed various aspects of modern society and featured observations from sometimes bizarre perspectives. An urgent, forward thinking and spikily melodic attack on pop music, it’s often hailed as ground-breaking and would gift the quickly established and evolving Mute roster with one of its most demented and compelling voices.

‘Fireside Favourites’ notably features Mute main man Daniel Miller assisting on sequencer and electronic percussion, but the real star has to be Frank’s indomitable vocals, careening between sardonic sneers, deadpan monotone and uncanny exhortations. The music is simple and aggressive but stunningly original for 1980.

Tragically overlooked as one of the innovators of the early 80s synth style; this unusual album is a one-off experience, being thoughtful, shocking and enthusiastically malevolent whenever it can.

The album will be curated by Steve Petitt-Coombes of the Vinyl Collective. The album playback will be followed by a Q&A session. After a short break, we’ll follow the album with our usual ‘Dead Wax’ session. Bring along a 7” of your choice and hear it played through the Arts Centre PA. This can be anything you like, for any reason – the more ‘out there’ the better.

The bar will be open throughout.

Doors 12pm, Starts 12.30pm

Tickets £3



Sun, January 22
12:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Colchester Arts Centre


Colchester Arts Centre
Colchester Arts Centre + Google Map