Electronica music not seen in New Zealand since the Sweetwaters Festival in the early 80s will reverberate once more as two bands announce a Palmerston North gig as part of a tour next year.

Midge Ure and four-piece band Electronica have added the Regent on Broadway gig as part of a tour playing alongside 80s New Zealand melancholic rock band The Mockers.

The tour will bring to life a classic album Ure made as the voice of Ultravox, instantly recognisable to 80s children in the song Vienna, and also songs from the debut album Visage.

Recognisable tunes will come from local heroes The Mockers, and the tour has band members reuniting from UK, Australia and NZ for the historic shows.

Midge Ure
Midge Ure

The last time Midge Ure (with Ultravox) and the Mockers appeared on the same bill was at the third Sweetwaters Festival in Pukekawa, during the summer of 1981/82 – a time when the musical landscape worldwide was in great change.

The guitar-driven dominance that had propelled rock and punk throughout the 70s had ended, as synthesisers signalled the sound of the future and video transformed the look of the pop charts.

At the heart of this seismic leap into a futuristic new dawn were two records that set the template for much of what was to follow.

Visage's single Fade To Grey from the band's debut eponymous album and Ultravox's single Vienna from the album of the same name were global hits that shared the same stark ambiance, European aesthetic and electronic heart.

These landmark singles brought the art-school alternative into the centre of mainstream.

Both records were co-written, recorded and produced by one of the leading characters in British music, Midge Ure, and not only transformed the charts around the globe but his life.

"Autumn 1979 was a pivotal point in my career trajectory," he said.

"Over the previous two years, I had grown from 'pop band' (Slik) to 'post-punk band' (The Rich Kids) to being a stand-in guitarist for Thin Lizzy."


"Over the course of autumn into winter 1979, while working on the Visage project with Billy Currie, I was invited to join Ultravox. The work we did that winter on the Vienna album was an exhilarating rush of creativity the likes of which I had never experienced before."

"Forty years later I want to celebrate this period and as we pass from 2019 into 2020 play the Vienna album in its entirety along with highlights from the eponymous Visage album. Join me and my Band Electronica celebrating the year of release for both the Vienna and Visage albums1980."

The gigs were in addition to the previously announced shows at Powerstation in Auckland and Selwyn Sounds in Christchurch.

Tickets went on sale this week for their concerts in Palmerston North, and also gigs in Wellington, New Plymouth and Hamilton. The Palmerston North gig kicks the tour off on March 1.