Twenty-five year-old synthpop act Erasure might be an unlikely candidate to pack the clubs on its current North American tour, but the fans are out and giving the duo more than just “A Little Respect,” to reference the 1987 single that yearned for some recognition.
With the exception of 2005 single “Breathe,” which topped the U.S. dance charts, Andy Bell and Vince Clarke of Erasure haven’t seen mainstream success here in two decades. No matter, as shows in Austin, Texas, Denver and Dallas sold out, and a Saturday appearance at the Hollywood Palladium promises to have a celebratory feel.
Bell definitely feels the stateside love. "People seem to be much more appreciative over here than in the U.K., for how many years we've been touring,” he said by phone from a St. Louis hotel room. “It's not like we have mass exposure here. People come see us mainly on word of mouth."
That’s a phenomenon quite familiar to cult bands. In a digital-driven music landscape, a veteran group's continued relevancy can lie heavily on live shows rather than record sales. A veritable poster band for the LGBT crowd, the group was one of the first acts with an openly gay frontman to have chart success with hits such as “Chains of Love.” Mainstream audiences also might know Erasure from the popular flash game Robot Unicorn Attack, whose theme song is the classic Erasure track "Always."
"You have to consider the time when Erasure was capturing its audience," said Christine Nash, a former A&R rep for Warner Bros. and Virgin. “[It was] a time that if you were a fan of a band, you really believed in everything they did. Erasure became their fans' champions."
Think, then, of an Erasure tour as something of a homecoming. "They are almost like reunions to us. We all know we're going to the show when it comes through town," said Jonathan Munfore, a 41-year-old Erasure fan from Santa Monica.