Front 242, the Belgian EBM pioneers, have announced a second show in London, extending the UK leg of their 40th Anniversary Tour. They will perform at the 02 Academy on 17 July 2022, having sold out their first show on the 16th. Their press release tells the tale:
Front 242 began in 1981 when Daniel B. laid down his musical ideas on a single entitled ‘Body To Body’. He was joined a year later by Patrick Codenys (keyboards) and Jean-Luc De Meyer (vocals) for debut album ‘Geography’, followed by Richard 23 (vocalist/stage performer) in 1983.
Developing their own independent recording and graphics facilities, as well as a unique on-stage presentation, the group soon began reaching progressively larger audiences via the release of a series of records in a brand new genre that they termed Electronic Body Music (EBM), seeing it as a collage and synthesis of music and sounds recycled from the media or TV that was often reflected or enriched by other artistic disciplines. In 1984, the group signed a US deal with the Chicago-based label Wax Trax! and released the EP ‘Take One’. They would go on to enjoy massive success Stateside.
Gaining experience in the mid-80s by performing at large European festivals and from US touring, Front 242 established itself as a powerful live unit and their EBM spread across Europe and beyond. The albums ‘No Comment’ (1985), ‘Official Version’ (1987) and ‘Front By Front’ (1988, including the indie/club hits ‘HeadHunter’ and ‘Welcome to Paradise’) sealed their international breakthrough and status as an innovative and pioneering outfit.
The group’s vision evolved toward full maturity following the acclaimed ‘Tyranny For You’ (1991), while their next albums – ’06:21:03:11 Up Evil’ and ’05:22:09:12 Off’ (both 1993) broke the classic Front formula by bringing in new vocalists, live guitars and drums, plus outside producer Andy Wallace (Nirvana, Sonic Youth). This began a period of redistributing roles and rules within the group, albeit retaining the scope of invention and the radical attitude that were key ingredients in their music.
A hiatus between 1993-1997 saw the release of ‘Live Code’ (recorded during their most recent world tour) and ‘Mut@ge – Mix@ge’, a compilation album for which star names such as The Prodigy, The Orb and Underworld provided innovative remixes of Front 242 songs.
The original quartet reunited in 1997 and (with German drummer Tim Kroker) once again began performing concerts, with several ensuing live releases that captured the group’s energy and also reflected the numerous changes brought in by the versions of Front songs being performed on stage.
After a lengthy absence from the studio, the EP ‘Still & Raw’ and album ‘Pulse’ were both released in 2003. Based on the aesthetics of the 1970s and 80s, these records saw Front 242 recreate the original sound at the centre of their art, but enriched by two decades of experience; analogue technologies and vintage machines pulsing into deconstructed tracks where emotion and research were still conveyed by a purely electronic attitude.
Having reissued their back catalogue in newer, enriched editions, and breaking from the perceived tradition that every live campaign be preceded by a new album, Front 242 continue to perform worldwide with the same levels of intensity and success as ever, encouraged by crowds of loyal fans celebrating the band’s uniqueness and renowned integrity.