Tonight, the Electro-Pop legends that are Heaven 17 play Glasgows Carling Academy.
“Here today, mine tomorrow, where you go, I will follow”
It brings back memories of almost 30 years ago, my hair dyed blonde and cut in a David Sylvian geometric wedge and dancing to these new sounds of the 80s. I thought I was the coolest kid on the block, little did I know!!
“All I desire .. Temptation .. Adorable Creatures with Unacceptable Features .. Temptation”
Heaven 17, who’s name is stolen from a pop band in the movie A Clockwork Orange, feature 2 of the founding members of The Human League. I remember back in the day when THL split, the 2 real musicians MArtyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh leaving to form H17 and leaving Phil Oakey with vocalists but no actual musicians.
“Once we were years ahead but now those thoughts are dead – Let me go”
Contractually obligated to cover all THL debts including the pending tour obligations. Phil Oakey and the roadie then quickly tried to learn synths, hiring the 2 slinky songstresses Joanne and Susan and some professional session musicians to provide the backdrop to the image of Oakey and the girls.
“I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar…… ”
Actually when Phil met the girls, they were underage 17 year olds dancing alone at Crazy Daisy’s Nightclub. They looked and danced like no one else around on the scene and he signed them up immediately.
“These are the things, the things that dreams are made of …”
The rest is legend, but its just as well there were producers more interested in making money from selling a fashion or the classic album which is Dare would never have created.
“Cos of you can pass the test, your worst is better than their best …. ”
But H17 rolled on, never as poppy or as popular as H17, much more socialist and independent. Their songs speak of the gap between wealth and poverty. The Luxury Gap between Penthouse and Pavement and being Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry.
“Some are nurses, Some steal purses, Some are workers, Some are not, It is time for a party, Liberation for the nation now!”
Tonight is the 30th Anniversary tour of the Luxury Gap album, played in entirety from start to finish, then a few extra singles thrown in from their other albums and for good measure some Human League songs that the H17 guys wrote.
“Get around town, No need to stand proud, add your voice to the sound of the crowd”
Fortunately, any hostilty between the bands has long since gone, the Sheffield Steel tour featuring H17, THL and ABC a few years ago showed that the relationships between the bands were friendly and co-operative.
“Here today, mine tomorrow, Where you lead I will follow, All that kissing, No passion missing, Kiss the boys good-bye”
If you happen to be interested, then download The Best Of BEF, the H17 side project featuring guest vocalists such as Chaka Khan and Billy Mackenzie from The Associates. Its a fantastic album, particularly Billy singing Free or the slow piano version of Party Fears Two which BEF did as a tribute on Billy’s early death.
I’m looking forward to a trip down memory lane tonight, Even more so with Human League in December, but I really can’t wait for Squeeze. Their reunion tour at the O2 a few years ago was fantastic.
About 6 years ago, my pals and I were in the pub discussing the band you’d most like to see reform. My choice was Squeeze, so when their lead singer Chris Difford was a guest with Jools Holland at the Armadillo and played 3 Squeeze songs, I was completely blown away. So much so that I wrote to Chris raving about the gig and asking them to reform Squeeze, a few friendly email exchanges later things went quiet, until a few years later and Squeeze reformed without Jools .. but they were just as good .. better even.
“You can take it or leave it .. But you’d better believe it ….”
Tempation …. How good does that dress look in this video?