’80s synth-pop icon Thomas Dolby packs Harlow’s for Second Saturday show


Thomas Dolby brought his “Time Capsule” tour to Harlow’s April 14, 2012.

photographs by Barry Wisdom |

The hair and trademark round spectacles are long gone, but 1980s synth-pop icon Thomas Dolby, whose 1982 worldwide hit "She Blinded Me With Science" helped launch MTV, delivered a two-hour set to a capacity Harlow’s crowd April 14 that proved his unique storytelling ability, voice and musicianship are as fresh as ever.

The stop, part of Dolby’s current "Time Capsule" tour that kicked off March 16, 2012, in Austin, Texas, featured well-known cuts from the last 30 years – such as "Europa and the Pirate Twins," "One of Our Submarines," "Hyperactive!" and, of course, "Science – plus selections from his recently released CD "A Map of the Floating City."

Though the 2011 studio album was his first in 19 years, it’s not as if Dolby has been holed up in his UK beach house counting his royalties as a solo artist and well-regarded collaborator. In the interim he’s done a bit of everything, from founding the company that developed the Nokia ringtone to creating a multiplayer online role-playing game tied to his latest album.

At the April 14 show, he displayed good humor and appreciation for his fans – young and "old" – who crowded every inch of floorspace, and who demanded multiple encores.

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