Heaven 17 never toured when The Luxury Gap album first came out. It is their most successful album and contains masterpieces such as Come Live With Me, Heaven 17’s favourite track – Let Me Go, We Live So Fast and of course their famous no 2 – Temptation. To hear it played live is an experience that should be on everyone’s bucket list. It is a phenomenal show and Heaven 17 know how to throw a party.
The tour started in Northampton. And let me say Northampton know how to party. The Roadmender hosted the gig and gave those damp Friday November nights something to look forward to. Supported by X-Propaganda (The girls from that fabulous 80’s electronic band), this was going to be a night to remember. X-Propaganda performed a 7-track set including Duel and Dr Mabuse. They are the perfect support and a good match for Heaven 17 with their raw and edgy synth sound. Claudia and Suzanne had electronic, guitar and drum support to give a full rounded sound but what was most compelling was the girls themselves. I loved Suzanne’s outfit and Claudia’s dancing. Your eyes are naturally drawn to these two leading women who take us back in time.
Hearing Heaven 17 walk on stage to the BEF Ident music always sends a shiver down my spine. I can’t recall the time I first heard this but I more recently associate it with the start of an amazing gig. And Heaven 17 did not disappoint. Playing The Luxury Gap album in full opens with Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry. A song that really can sum up Heaven 17’s Industrial Sheffield roots. The great thing about playing this album in full is you get to hear rare album tracks that don’t often get an outing on a live set. My personal favourite is Who’ll Stop the Rain and Key To The World (The title of this review is a reference to a line in this song). Best Kept Secret is a bit of a marmite track as fans either seem to love it or hate it.
For those of you who are fans of early Human League – you are in for a treat as we have a mini Human League Fiesta. Glenn joked that if Phil Oakey wanted to walk on and do it – Glenn would stand next to me and watch. Of course, there was no Phil and honestly, we don’t need him as Glenn does an excellent job of covering four Human League tracks including my personal favourite, A Crow and A Baby. Glenn asks Martyn about the lyrics to this and Martyn says its about Phil’s relationship with his dad. I never knew that and had always wondered about the lyrics. I feel educated!
Following the Human League set, we are canvassed as their brothers and sisters to join in with (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang which is even more relevant today than it was 35 years ago. It just shows how much Heaven 17 were ahead of the game. This is followed by And That’s No Lie, a fantastic track that never gets enough airing. Their first TOTP appearance was Play To Win which is followed by Penthouse And Pavement.
The encore is Let's Dance – a David Bowie cover and everyone was singing and dancing along. When Glenn isn’t doing Heaven 17 gigs, He sings with Holy Holy. For those who don’t know, that is Woody Woodmansey’s band, who is the last living spider from mars and along with legendary producer, Tony Visconti they play a lot of 70’s Bowie. Bowie once called Early Human League the future of music. A high accolade indeed. The final track is Temptation. That’s the joy of this gig – you get tempted twice! This version is the 1992 brothers in rhythm remix. I am giving it my all singing along with the girls but lucky for those around me the microphones drown out my voice and you hear the succulent tones to be tempted by. The backing singers were Kelly and Rachel who knock it out of the park – and looked totally amazing. I also want to make a special mention to Berenice who often hides behind her keyboards but tonight we tempted her to come forward with a mobile keyboard. And she looked so hot I think both men and women were lusting after her. By the way – if you don’t know, Berenice and Glenn have a band called Afterhere and you get to hear Berenice sing on that. Wow! I cannot recommend this album highly enough! She really is multi-talented.
Martyn and Glenn have such a great friendship and its obvious on stage with them joking and Glenn even kissing Martyn at one stage. Yes, you can put the album on at home – but look at what you miss if you don’t come to see it live?! Martyn sported the most amazing jacket. Heaven 17 are well known for being smartly dressed but Martyn has taken it to a new level. His jacket was an exact replica from A Clockwork Orange (where Heaven 17 got their name). It was cool and I loved the reference.
This is a truly amazing gig and I promise you it will be the best thing you do this year. Its almost sold out so grab a ticket if you can and Let’s celebrate (I would say and vaporise but that’s the wrong album!) this fest of Heaven 17 at their very best.