On arriving at a party on New Years Eve 2010, it rapidly became apparent that I had been the only person not to receive the fancy dress memo. I felt like the kid in school uniform on non-uniform day. None too pleasant. That was until my friend Jack handed me a lifeline Have you come as the lead singer of Hurts?- my immediate response being who? but a few taps on the iPhone, and lo, Google could declare that yes, I had, somewhat inadvertently, arrived as Theo Hutchcraft. Ignorance IS bliss. So having used this well dressed fellows name to blag my way through what could have been an otherwise awkward evening, I felt obliged to download their debut album (legally) and give them a listen. And I am not ashamed to say, step aside Neil Tennant, Theo is my new electro-pop hero. Yes the albums glossy. Yes its kitsch. Yes its full of pomp. But as Luke Lewis said in his review for NME ...its weird that people will gleefully lap up Hollywood blockbusters, yet they wont tolerate their musical equivalent, which is an album like this: billowing, escapist nonsense that raises your heart rate, slaps a smile on your face and sounds godlike when drunk..... Here, here. Having had the pleasure of seeing them live at V Festival, and seen them top polls for best live performance at both Glastonbury and T in the Park, the chance to see them at Brixton Academy wasnt about to pass me by. So suitably liquored, with a nearby Wetherspoons supply of Jagermeister sufficiently drained, myself and four friends squirmed our way to somewhere near the front just in time to see the eleven-piece band (complete with string quartet, no less) take up position as spotlights swept the stage. Cue two hooded figures with flags closely followed by our men of the moment, a picture of sartorial elegance, and accompanied by the kind of screams not heard since Morrissey brought This Charming Man back into his live repertoire. The intro to Silver Lining booms out and I cant remember being this excited at a gig since Paul Weller introduced Bruce Foxton to the stage at the Royal Albert Hall in 2010. A semi-The Jam reformation this is not, but it has the feeling of something glorious. Its brash, and crass, and at times a little bit over the top, but its everything a live show should be. As the set progresses, and the hooded figures disrobe to reveal two dancers, the crowd greet hits like Wonderful Life, Blood, Tears and Gold and Sunday like old friends and every word from Theos mouth is echoed by the 5,000 or so in attendance. Smiles slapped firmly on faces, and every song sounding godlike, perhaps we are a little bit drunk. Which may go some way to explaining my unbridled joy when Theo is joined for guest vocals on Devotion by.....Kylie Minogue. Ive never been a fan, her music drives me insane and in other circumstances I wouldnt give her a second glance. But I genuinely cannot remember being this overwhelmed since I heard a rumour that Morrissey was bringing This Charming Man back into his live repertoire whilst Paul Weller introduced...you know where this is going! The set builds towards its climax with Theo milking every ounce of blood, sweat and adulation from the crowd before launching into Stay hes reminiscent of a matinee idol, hes David Cassidy, Jordan Knight and Gary Barlow, hes the saviour of pop riding on his steed and thats when it hits me, the overindulgence in everything 70 proof has taken its toll, and its time to retire for the evening. But not before one colossal, mind-blowing finale. Better Than Love is like nothing I have ever experienced in such a confined space. People are climbing on top of themselves as the euphoria takes hold. Words are flung from the stage and bounce right back as the crowd eke every last syllable from the band and they depart to the kind of screams not heard since Morrissey brought....oh forget it! Epic. 80's. And a little bit camp. But I just cant get Hurts out of my head. Hurts played: Silver Lining Wonderful Life Happiness Blood, Tears & Gold Evelyn Sunday Gloomy Sunday(Instrumental) Verona Mother Nature Unspoken Devotion (w/ Kylie Minogue) Confide In Me (Kylie Minogue cover w/ Kylie Minogue) Affair Illuminated Stay Encore: The Water Better Than Love'