Some Great Reward – A Review of Speak and Spell at St. Paul’s

Some Great Reward – A review of SPEAK AND SPELL at ST. Pauls Worthing January 27th, 2018 by Rob Kelly

It would be so easy to write off tribute bands as simple copyists, cashing in on another bands talent to make a living. However, anyone at St. Paul’s last night would tell you a different story. There are a few tribute bands which share the energy, passion and talent of the original band, acts like the Australian Pink Floyd, The Musical Box (Genesis) or the Counterfeit Stones are the closest thing to seeing the real thing. Speak and Spell are well and truly in that category and having seen Depeche Mode myself they are as close to the real thing as you can get.

Returning for another sold out show at this amazing venue, this group of superb musicians and performers played a full 2 hour set which ranged across the whole Depeche Mode canon from the jingle jangle of New Life to the dark depths of Black Celebration, with an attention to detail and a faithfulness to the spirit of the original material. This was not in any shape or form playing by numbers and the crowd responded with mass singalongs and joyful dancing.

The tone of the evening was perfectly set up by the SLP’s thoughtful pulsing and eclectic pre-show DJ set, which had the sold-out crowd on their feet and dancing almost from the moment the doors opened.

At 9pm sharp it was time for some classic Depeche Mode, from the dark and brooding intro music, gloomy lighting and plumes of smoke this felt like it would be a special night. The beautiful interior of the former church that is ST. Pauls added to the atmosphere, Speak and Spell who are; Paul Wood (Lead Vocals), Keith Trigwell( Keyboards, programming and production), Tony Clare,( Lead and backing vocals, guitar, keyboards and production) and Paul Boddy, (Keyboards and production), are all superb musicians and more importantly fans of Depeche Mode and it shows.

Paul Wood in full Gahan mode with leather waistcoat and Cuban heel boots, prowled the stage for the whole two hours bringing a huge energy and buckets of charisma to the role of frontman, whether belting out the vocals himself or leading the frequent crowd sing-alongs on classics such as Behind the Wheel, Shake the Disease, People are People, See You, Stripped and Black Celebration , the audience lapped it up and joined in whenever the opportunity arose, indeed during a temporary microphone malfunction Paul styled it out and conducted an audience only chorus to everyone’s amusement.

The show was perfectly paced with songs from every era of Depeche Mode’s 14 album career including Everything Counts, Personal Jesus, New Life, Just Can’t Get Enough and Enjoy the Silence, there was even space for the lesser known ballad Somebody usually sung by Martin Gore and beautifully delivered almost acapella by Tony Clare.

It is a sign of how hard this band work that across the two-hour set they covered 23 songs, each delivered with a passion you only get from true fans of the music and after a throbbing version of Never Let Me Down, the band took a bow and they were done.

SLP returned to the decks for the after-party which ran till late.

Often known as an acoustic venue ST. Paul’s proved it has the capacity, the sound and the atmosphere to host an evening of full on rock, pop and electro. With recent and upcoming gigs selling out, make sure you are on the mailing list to avoid missing out on future events.

One last piece of advice, if you hear that Speak and Spell are playing near you, do yourself a favour and treat yourself to a ticket, as tribute acts go this band have the spirit, the energy and the chops to deliver the music as close to the originals as it can possibly be done.

Why not follow my blog WoMu a Worthing music blog at and read my interviews with the likes of Hugh Cornwell, Pete Fij, and of course the amazing Speak and Spell.

Rob Kelly

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