The Pop Group Debuts New Songs Live in Tokyo

The Pop Group
David Corio/Redferns

Gareth Sager and Mark Stewart of The Pop Group performing circa 1980.

Groundbreaking late '70s/early '80s British post-punk outfit The Pop Group debuted live performances of its first new songs in 35 years at Liquid Room in Tokyo's Ebisu district. The tracks come from the band's new album, Citizen Zombie, released February 23rd on Freaks R Us in the US and UK and JVC Records in Japan.

The album was produced by impresario Paul Epworth, who has worked with Adele, John Legend, Coldplay, Bruno Mars and Paul McCartney, among others.

The show kicks off a world tour that will span New Zealand, Australia, the US, Canada, the UK and continental Europe. So far 21 dates have been announced. 

Liquid Room was packed with around 600 on Sunday (March 1) and the band mixed its classic cuts with new songs from the album. Opening with the title track, lead singer Mark Stewart showed he'd lost none of his on-stage ferocity with a tremendous growl aided by slapback vocal effects. 

The band also played live for the first time "Mad Truth," "Age of Miracles," "Shadow Child," "Nowhere Girl," and "Sophia."

The group also dropped in its classic tracks "We Are all Prostitutes," "We Are Time," and "Where There's a Will."

The Pop Group formed in 1977 and broke up in 1981 despite the success of their landmark 1980 album We Are Time. They reformed in 2010. Stewart explains, "We were already discussing reforming when (Simpsons creator) Matt Groening asked if we could play a festival he was curating. We feel we have unfinished business and now's the time."

The Pop Group and Mark Stewart are no strangers to Japan. The band performed at Summer Sonic, one of the leading summer fests, in 2011 and Mark Stewart & The Mafia played another leading Japanese summer fest, Fuji Rock, in 2008.


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