Top of the pops

The 1980s music scene has seen a tremendous resurgence in the past decade. Enormous concerts such as Rewind Festival have sprung up all over the country, with nothing but 1980s artists on the bill. Few who attended Let’s Rock Leeds this summer could forget the wonderfully nostalgic, fun atmosphere.

Nik Kershaw
Nik Kershaw

This autumn, one of the decade’s most-loved groups are hitting the road for a mammoth 30th anniversary tour. Go West announced that this tour will be co-headlined by their friend, Nik Kershaw who achieved equal success, scoring eight Top 30 singles in the space of just two years. Speaking to Kershaw ahead of the tour, he explained how it came about. “We were on tour together in South Africa, and we were just chatting about stuff and it just seemed like a good idea to do. We’ve been mates for a long time and we respect each other’s work, tremendously.”

Fans of these two eighties artists are in for an extra treat, with the announcement that Carol Decker of T’Pau will be their opening act for the UK tour. “I’ve known Carol since about 1987”, says Nik. “She opened for me on one of my UK tours. She’s a brilliant performer and she’ll whip them up into a frenzy for us.”

All three acts have enjoyed something of a comeback with the introduction of these enormous package festivals, which see up to 30,000 people packed into fields and arenas all over the country, singing along to eighties anthems.

“There’s lot of festivals that we all do,” Kershaw says. “They’re great fun, everybody knows what they’re going for and everybody gets what they went for, as well. It’s an understanding between you and an audience; you just get on stage and bash out the hits, they sing them back at you and it’s a lot of fun. There are no negatives to it, but it is nice to do your own shows and play stuff that was recorded in the nineties or the 2000s, or more recently.”

Now 57, Kershaw shows no sign of slowing down, and remarks that performing is more enjoyable now than ever. “I find gigging easier in that, hopefully, I’m a bit better at my job than I was those many years ago. You’ve got more experience and you’re more comfortable in your own skin, as well. The touring aspect, it can be hard work, but it’s just the travelling you can do without, especially if you’re touring internationally. There’s lots of hanging about.”

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Kershaw has continued to release new music, although his release dates are getting increasingly sparse. Is the writing process more difficult than it was back in the day? “I think you go through patches. You always have dry spots, but it gets more difficult because you don’t want to repeat yourself. And secondly, you don’t have that kind of creative energy that you had back in the day; there’s a kind of energy you get from being very successful and selling lots of records.

“My first two albums were within nine months of each other so I had, literally, two weeks to write my second album, and I did it, because I knew I was in that zone. I knew, whatever was coming into my head, millions of people were going to hear it – that gives you a real energy.”

Go West, Nik Kershaw and T’Pau are at Sheffield City Hall on November 1, York Grand Opera House on November 14 and Halifax Victoria Theatre on November 22.