CHRIS TALBOTT, AP Music Writer
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — It’s been nearly three decades since Spandau Ballet played in the United States. After a successful return to America at South By Southwest, members of the influential British pop group now wonder why they stayed away for so long.
“We’re sorry we left it 28 years,” band member Gary Kemp said. “That’s a long time. It is amazing how fast it went.”
The recently reunited band played their SXSW show Wednesday at Vulcan Gas Company. It was a sweaty, close affair, and one that left the band — who in the 1980s had a hit record and single both titled “True”— excited about its future reunion prospects.
“The reaction was phenomenal,” Kemp said. “I don’t think we really realized how much love there was for Spandau and knowledge really of our catalog here in the states. It’s the first time we’ve played in a club proper since playing in New York the first time in 1981 …
“This is a club town, and we wanted to be part of the atmosphere. The vibe was phenomenal. We felt like we took our arena skills and compressed them down and contained that energy on the festival stage.”
The group, which also includes Tony Hadley, John Keeble, Martin Kemp and Steve Norman, also debuted a new career-spanning documentary “Soul Boys of the Western World” at the festival.
The George Hencken-directed film filters the vibrant London 1980s music scene through the band’s story.
“I think it was a golden age really,” lead singer Hadley said. “It was kind of a golden age where only music was available to kids. It’s how they found their identity, who they were. … I think there’s a nostalgia about that.
“Hopefully we’re not embedded in that era. We’ve evolved. The sound we’re making now it’s not an ’80s replica.”
The group finishes its SXSW run with an appearance Friday night at the Lou Reed tribute where it will play “Satellite of Love.”
The entire experience has the group thinking big with plans for a new album and world tour.
“The usual world domination stuff,” Keeble joked.