Tag Archive: Institute

La Roux + Meanwhile @ The Institute, Birmingham – Saturday 8th November 2014

Tonight we’re borrowing the good Doctor’s Tardis for time travel paradoxically back in time to the modern day. A retro- inspired synth-pop dance-athon back to the future courtesy of 1983, but actually right here, and right now – as we take a trip to The Institute courtesy of Grammy-winning act, La Roux.

La Roux formed in 2006, made up of singer Elly Jackson and record producer Ben Langmaid. Their debut self titled album was a commercial and critical success – winning a Grammy and spawning hit singles ‘In for the Kill’ and ‘Bulletproof.’  The album sold 2 million and spawned 6 million singles sales.The follow up proved a somewhat difficult feet, and Langmaid walked, leaving Jackson on her own, taking the bands name and finally releasing the second La Roux album ‘Trouble in Paradise’ in 2014. Following some low-key dates over the summer, she’s here at the Institute tonight – part of a string of UK dates and then off to Europe.

La Roux-12

Meanwhile…. we still thinking. We’ll maybe not – but we are transported back to precisely 1983 with support band Meanwhile. Think of electronic pop funk – tune that could merrily be the soundtrack to Miami Vice or The Breakfast Club. Lead singer and keyboardist has the blonde lock of Sylvian, with rock out vocals. They’re newbies – and have their debut EP out ‘The Element Yes’ on the 1 December 2014.  If commercial American retro-pop electronica is your scene take a look at em – and maybe give them a like on Facebook to get their likes over 970 and follow ‘em on Twitter – they’ve just 355 followers…

And in between performers tonight, the lights been to the glitter ball in the center of the high ceiling venue – party is a-coming. And  a little after 8.30 (we have a 10pm curfew on the venue tonight before Drum and Bass party night appears) dry ice permeates the stage, lights go down – we’re in darkness. La Roux take to the stage; a panting chant starts up, repeating and repeating as the keyboards join in to screams and cheers from the crowd. This is recent single ‘Let Me Down Gently’ and as Jackson is illuminated from the darkness and the song starts to rise the crowd cheer.

“Hello Birmingham – tech problems as we started up – thanks for coming out… Cold outside innit…?” as Jackson takes us into the next track ‘Fascination’ a full on retro dance track, which get the crowd clapping before morphing into ‘Kiss and Not Tell’ an upbeat clippity clappy track.

Jackson imparts that she forgot to say happy birthday to someone – Mr. Moses clearly isn’t here – “well you try and do something nice….” she quips.  For hit ‘In for the Kill’ many people in the audience get their cameras out – a sea of LED screens – as the spectacular light show gets the crowd bopping.

And the cheers get bigger after each song – and the screams – people ae partaking in falling down water – a young lad in front of us, with his cider mix – clearly things he’s dancing is far cooler than his dads. ‘Cruel Sexuality’ rolls and extends into a bass beat driven dance track. ‘I’m Not Your Toy’ is clearly recognised by the crowd and the fans bop more and hands are in the air.

‘Uptight Downtown’ has a Bowiesque ‘Let’s Dance’ rhythm and the track once again raves down as Jackson takes guitar in hand. “We’d play all night if we could….’ Jackson rues the venue curfew – and we’re in a  Yazoo-inspired tap-tap-tap on the keyboards as we’re delivered  ‘Colourless Colour’  – Jackson’s goals seeming getting higher,  and the crowd clap clap clap as it cranks up the rhythm.

And the dancing man wobbles, his dad dancing days over for now, I fear his legs won’t carry him much longer as he totters off….. ‘Silent Partner’ has a rave vibe – and I almost get to sing Donna Summer’s ‘I fell Love’ though the track doesn’t quite morph.

Encore – stomping drumbeat – ‘Tigerlily’ all atmosphere – and the wobbly man is back – and slumps across his mate. The screaming and cheering is getting louder – and then the main hit ‘Bulletproof’ get’s arms in the air and everyone jumping and singing. With an abrupt stop to the track and it’s over to a huge reponse from the crowd and applause to their reaction from the band. And at just 9.45pm we make our way homeward (or party ward).

La Roux are upbeat – that sort of happy smily synth-pop. It is difficult to know why the second album was quite so hard there didn’t seem to be much of a departure live from the previous album – and nowt particularly revolutionary going on here. But La Roux do what La Roux do best and the crowd do indeed love it. New stuff probably a better fit overseas rather than in the UK, is it bulletproof? Only time will tell.

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Setlist
Let Me Down Gently
Fascination
Kiss and Not Tell
In for the Kill
Quicksand
Sexotheque
Cruel Sexuality
I’m Not Your Toy
Tropical Chancer
Uptight Downtown
Colourless Colour
Silent Partner

Encore:
Tigerlily
Bulletproof

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Pictures courtesy of Ken Harrison. Review for Gig Junkies and 102.5 The Bridge.

Blancmange + Light Cascades + The Audacity @ HMV Institute Temple, 19th May 2012

Review for Birmingham Live! Pictures: Ken Harrison

After having moved venues twice in as many days – we climb to the top of the HMV Institute to see the iconic electronic Blancmange, back again, for the second time in less that a year after a twenty five year hiatus.

This gig started out life in the 02 Academy 2, then moved to the Academy 3, before a last minute move to The Temple at the HMV Institute across town. We don’t know why, but maybe it was because a “lesser known, small band” with the name of Black Sabbath were performing an intimate gig in the 02 Academy 1…

So after a traipse across town and a climb pretty much to the rooftop of the HMV Institute to the Temple (not sure why they’ve gone for this room – The Library would have made more sense – and there’s nowt else on at the Institute tonight). Though fair play to The Institute, the staff are all very friendly and they’ve opened up the VIP Conservatory, with bar and area for those fans who want a fag, without having to traipse down two flights of stairs.

The teeny Temple is three-quarters full – couple of hundred fans – probably due to the fact they’re playing The Slade Rooms in Wolvo the following night. Blancmange were indeed one of the influential pioneers in their hey day –  ‘Living on The Ceiling’, ‘Feel Me’ and “Blind Vision” are just some of their stand out tracks. Over recent years, they’ve been acknowledged as inspirational by bands such as La Roux, Hot Chip and Faithless.

Formed in ‘79, inspired by Joy Division, early Human League and the godfathers of electronica, Kraftwerk. Stephen Luscombe and Neil Arthur didn’t have a plan; they went along with the ride. And by the mid eighties, they felt their time was as a band was over – but kept their friendship in tact. And so, turn to 2010; they started working on their fourth album ‘Blanc Burn’.

Sadly Luscombe once again has been advised not to tour having been diagnosed with an abdominal aortic aneurism near his spine (you can read his message on the front of the Blancmange website) . And so again, it’s down to Arthur to continue with the tour accompanied on the teeny stage tonight by Graham Henderson “twiddling the knobs…”

Local bands are tonight’s support’s – first up – The Audacity – inspired by early Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk and New Order. Next up – Light Cascades – another young indie electronica band, with female lead plus bass and guitar; they are very early 80s in sound. Set includes cover of The Cure’s ‘Pictures of You.’

And at 9pm, Arthur and his side kick Henderson appear on the darkened stage, with arty screen backdrop accompaniment and we’re into the first track of the night  ‘Game Above My Head.’ Arthur stoops and sheltering his eyes from the spotlight, peers into the crowd. His voice still is the iconic sound of Blancmange. With Lancastrian accent “That’s very nice of you Birmingham, find ya way ‘ere did you? We got lost….” (comment on venue change from an audience member) Arthur joking – “that’s what I meant!”  Next track “I Can’t Explain “ shows how early Blancmange gained their early influence – very Kraftwerk inspired. Tonight’s set it the old and the new (from 2011’s Blanc Burn); from the first single ‘God’s Kitchen’ to tracks such as ‘Radio Therapy’ …. And Arthur is keeping track of the footie score – “What’s the score?” (Nil-Nil) “ooooo”

The stand out tracks tonight are the main hits of the past – a track that was released thirty years ago this September – ‘Living on the Ceiling’ is still as classy as Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tears Us Apart’. And as the number closes, and the music rolls, Arthurs disappears off stage – to re-appear slap bang in front of us in the audience – before nipping back. “Always wanted to see Blancmange… wish I was thirty years younger” he quips. Few more tracks – then the classic ‘Blind Vision’, followed by Blanc Burn track ‘Starfucker’ then ‘Feel Me’ – a track that Talking Heads would have been proud of.

Off and back on for encore with an unsuspecting audience member he grabbed “while she was on the way to the loo…”  The we get the ABBA cover ‘The Day Before You Came’ and ‘Probably Nothing.’ Arthur and Henderson bow to the crowd.

Arthur is chatty – and loves to engage with the fans – he’ll be chatting by the merchandising stand after the gig, and as we leave – most people stay behind for the opportunity……

Tonight’s gig wasn’t as good as their gig last year at The Academy 2 – but that could well have been down to the venue move. There is something very classy about Blancmange, they truly deserve a bigger take-up from those fans who love electronica. They deserved more than the couple of hundred that turned up tonight – however loyal those few are. So go check em out – you will not be disappointed. And to Arthur, and Luscombe, keep it up boys, it’s great to hear you once again.

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Brum Live photographer Ken Harrison got to see Blancmange the following night at The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton with support from local lad Johnny Normal. This gig was indeed Blancmange back on full form (everyone is entitled to a bit of an off night especially with last minute swap-around on venues!) – far better sound and more space on stage. They were also joined by long time associate, Pandit Dinesh, on percussion. Setlist was a bit different – they finished the set with the melodic ‘Waves’.

Ken caught up with Neil Arthur after the gig – and gave an acknowledgment to Birmingham Live! “They’re great!”  Cheers matey – we look forward to see Blancmange back in the Midlands very soon!

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Setlist:

  1. Game Above My Head
  2. I Can’t Explain
  3. WDYF
  4. God’s Kitchen
  5. Radio Therapy
  6. Drive Me
  1. The Western
  2. Living on the Celling
  3. By the Bus Stop @ Woolies
  4. Don’t Let These Days
  5. Blind Vision
  6. Star Fucker
  7. Feel Me

 

Encore:

14. The Day Before You Came

15. Probably Nothing

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Listening:

Happy Families (1982)

Mange Tout (1984)

Believe You Me (1985)

Blanc Burn (2011)

Marillion + Tin Spirits @ HMV Institute, Birmingham, 13th December 2011

Review for Birmingham Live! Pictures: Ken Harrison.

Tonight, out in a bitterly cold Birmingham, we should be in for a festive treat. In the lovely HMV Institute with a band who refuses to go away and have created their very own special independent path – Marillion as part of their handful of UK dates for their Christmas Tour 2011.

Support tonight comes from Tin Spirits, featuring former XTC guitarist Dave Gregory, who has also worked with Marillion’s Hogarth in his H-band. The set is eclectic bluesy prog rock and ends with XTC song ‘Senses Working Overtime.’ One of those moments, when you smile with nostalgia, the intro reminding you of times gone by.  A friendly fan walks past and says “You liked that didn’t you…. you was singing along…”

Marillion’s career is in two parts. Formed in ’79, Marillion with the big character that was Fish on vocals, they gained cult like success with their prog rock Peter Gabriel / Genesis inspired ‘Script for a Jester’s Tear’ and follow up ‘Fugazi’.  Next up ‘Misplaced Childhood’ sold in bucket loads and contained the massive single ‘Kayleigh’ which spawned a generation of children named after it. By ’88 Fish chose to go a separate way; at a time when the loss of the vocalist, could mean the end of a band. But that wasn’t going to be the end of Marillion. Steve Hogarth took over vocal duties, joining members Steve Rothey (lead guitar), Mark Kelly (keyboards), Pete Trewavas (bass) and Ian Mosely (drums) and twenty odd years on – part two are very successfully still going. This ‘new’ Marillion took a more independent rock sound, whilst taking the net revolution and interaction with their loyal fan base to the next level, years before other bands even thought of it. They pulled away from record labels and managers and crowd sourced funds to allow them to record and issue albums via their website, whilst regularly gigging. Tonight is their Christmas Party – a festive celebration for their fans…..

I ask an avid fan what they will be like tonight – “Absolutely fab” comes the reply, before they even come on. And so to a big cheer, spotlights circling the crowd, flashing red lights reflecting and dancing across the set backdrop; the crowd start double clapping and on comes Hogarth, followed by each member of the band. Set starts of with ‘Splintering Heart’ with full iconic Marillion sound. Hogarth plays a ‘cricket bat’ with sampler / keyboard embedded. He’s is truly charismatic, very engaging with the fans, his voice strong, totally complimenting the rest of the band – the days of ‘part one’ Marillion a long distant memory. “Thank you…. alright this is ‘Cover My Eyes.’” The audience clap – the sound in the Institute tonight is great – truly showing Marillion in their true musical rainbow colours.

Hogarth sits to play keyboards – “Oh that’s fucked…. slight technical hitch, that’s up the duff for the moment.…” But totally unfazed they simply switch songs, ‘Somewhere Else’ features a megaphone with a Clannad like swirling melody. Keyboard fixed we’re back on track – ‘Fantastic Place’ with a post song dedication to a fan in the audience. The set rolls on and, within the encore, a Christmas treat for fans, the usual ‘part one’ career song ‘Sugar Mice’ is replaced with that song – ‘Kayleigh.’

Marillion 2011 are a class act – truly professional, truly talented, playing songs listing towards prog rock but with no self-indulgence. They are open and very engaging with their fans – a true family beyond just of that of a band. Tonight there’s no restrictions on photos (quick thanks to Adam here!), no limitations placed on fans or those that review. Their fans are dedicated, some in festive spirit wearing Santa hats, and one woman in reindeer antlers and Christmas lights, and are a friendly bunch – great atmosphere. And a comment should go to the HMV Institute – great venue, fantastic sound system (you can clearly hear throughout the venue). Please get more bands on here. Bands – listen in – this is a great venue – go play here!!!!!

Dedicated fans know just how good Marillion are, and are truly loyal. A confession – I saw them twenty years ago, in their Fishy days and once after. And to see them in full glory, after all this time; tonight it was a joy. For those of you (who like me) may have lost touch, or who haven’t come across them, go and take a peak when they are next around. Musically very impressive, hugely enjoyable, they take you on a fantastic journey; their fans are a great bunch. Go. Enjoy. Support.

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Setlist:

1.Splintering Heart

2. Cover My Eyes

3. King

4. Somewhere Else

5. Fantastic Place

6. You’re Gone

7. Man Of A Thousand Faces

8. This Strange Engine

9. Afraid Of Sunlight

10. Neverland

Encore:

11. The Invisible Man

 

Encore 2:

12. Kayleigh

13. Three Minute Boy

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Listening:

Script For A Jester’s Tear [1983]

Fugazi [1984]

Misplaced Childhood [1985]

Somewhere Else [2007]

Less Is More [2009]

 

The Tom Tom Club @ HMV Institute (The Library) – Tuesday 19th July 2011

Another review for Birmingham Live! accompanied on their site with some great pictures once again by Ken Harrison!

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Well this venue has undergone some changes through the years too. Still the same venue – lost the HMV tag – it’s now just The Institute! (November 2013)

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After a day of hype, intrigue, media spin, #hackgate and custard pies, tonight we get to see two members of a truly alternative and infuencial band on their side project. Celebrating the 30 years since they decided to play away from home, welcome to “Birminham” (pronounced without the ‘g”) all the way from New York City, The Tom Tom Club. No Phantom Fan Flingers present.

I want to start off by saying The Talking Heads were legendary. Inspirational. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They came in at 100 in Rolling Stones 2011 update to ‘100 Greatest Artists of All Time.’  Formed way back in ’74, they were alternatively uber-cool during the late 70’s, early 80‘s going on to gain critical and commercial success. The  list of stand-out great tracks are endless. But by the late 80’s the Heads were in hiatus, and by ‘91, they officially announced the end.

Married Heads couple, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth started dabbling with The Tom Tom Club in ’81, with the initial equivalent success in their own right with their self-titled debut own album.  But commercial success was down there from there, the subsequent four albums, recorded sporadically over the years, decreasingly failed to make an impression. But for a while they influenced a great many people, their songs, especially ‘Genius of Love’ sampled by several acts – from Mariah Carey to Tupac Shakur.  In 2010, they released ‘Genius of Live’ – one side live performance – second side of remixes.

So while TTC in their own right may not the most successful band in the world, their history, influence and links to the Heads, should attract a reasonable audience. Unfortunately not. In The Library, we have 50-60 people max, including bar staff, the odd security guy, two photographers and me. Oh and Miles Hunt (one time voice of The Wonder Stuff).

With no support, we spend the initial hour standing outside, chatting to very friendly and amiable security dude, Adam (said I would mention you!). Popping into the sparse crowd in The Library just before 9, the lights go own and on they come. Frantz and Weymouth  (complete with pigtails, spangly black mini dress and red bass guitar),are joined on stage tonight by Victoria Clamp on bass (dressed in spangly cream mini-dress) Bruce Martin on keyboards and percussion, guitarist Pablo Martin and (rather strange) DJ, scratcher, mixer guy Kid Ginseng.

After a bit of a wobbly start, by the second song, ‘She’s Dangerous’ they were in the groove, and your head nodded and feet tapped along in time. ‘Punk Lolita’ dedicated “to our good friend Deborah Harry”. ‘L’elephant’ was slick, sound vocal harmonies – a song to bop along to. The band members were amiable, chatting along to answers from the crowd “How’s David Byrne these days?” “He’s got a lovely girlfriend.” A clear response to lack of communication and the lack of any likeliness that there will ever be a reformation of the Heads.

A question asked about if they remembered playing 70‘s Birmingham venue Barbarellas (now that’s going back some) Frantz: “I remember! Those fine Fewtrells gents who owned it!”

TTC are clearly at their best playing their own tracks, the covers “You Sexy Thing” and “Under the Boardwalk” just didn’t quite make the grade. The standout track of the night is indeed, their main UK hit – “Wordy Rappinghood” that made 7 in the UK Charts. Played tonight, in that old fashioned 12” mega remix style (oh those were the days), you smiled as you sang along.

And for the final track, a treat, Heads track ‘Psycho Killer’. “It’s all too short – like life. Thank you Birminham”.

Weymouth and Frantz are now amazingly in their early sixties. And fair play to them for coming over the pond and playing seven dates across the UK, a tour clearly under-promoted for whatever reason, I can’t believe there wasn’t more Heads fans there. Sad to see, given their history. They’d have done better at a venue like The Glee. TTC clearly enjoy it, and as I said fair play to ‘em. At times tonight, when they get in the groove, the harmonies and the percussion based montages, you get a snippet of what they were like in their hey-day, and just how good the Heads were. The crowd gave them, especially Weymouth and Frantz, great respect and appreciation.

For dedicated Heads disciples (and of course TTC ones) who weren’t there, you missed a treat. You should have been there. A chance to see just what was. However, I have to say, in balance across the large number of bands I’ve seen on their 30+ anniversary reformation / excuse for / back again/ remember us tours, with entrance fee on the door of £23 a ticket, plus no support, this was a pricey night for what you got.  I really don’t want to say this for soooooo many reasons, but there are lots bands out there doing this type of retro-nostalgia gig better.

*****

Setlist:

1. Who Feelin’ It

2. She’s Dangerous

3. Punk Lolita

4. L’elephant

5. On & On

6. Under the Boardwalk

7. The Man with The 4 Way Hips

8. Suboceana

9. Don’t Say No

10. Kiss Me When I Get Back

11. Genius of Love

12. You Sexy Thing (I Believe in Miracles)

13. Wordy Rappinghood

Encore:

14. Take Me to The River

15. Psycho Killer

*****

Listening:

Tom Tom Club (1981)

Genius of Live (2010)

*****

Web:

Web: http://www.tomtomclub.net/

Imelda May @ HMV Institute 8th February 2011

Review for Birmingham Live!

Pretty busy here at the HMV Institute as we wait for the new emerging talent of Imelda May to appear on stage. Still lovin’ the HMV Institute as a venue – you can clearly see the stage wherever you stand.

Imelda May is deemed to be the “next big thing” even though her career started years ago in the Dublin Club circuit where she fell in love with rockabilly and blues and with the music of Elvis, Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent. And this isn’t her first time performing in Birmingham, she is a regular with the The World Famous Palookaville! Burlesque Orchestra at every Candy Box show since it started in 2006.

This Irish lass has an unmistakable cool but quirky 50s look, hair slicked back into a pony-tail, supported by a full rock-a-biddy band complete with bass cello. The first song is reminiscent of Magic Bus – a full on return to the fifties, to applause from the crowd.

She’s chatty – happy to talk to the audience between songs – her days on the club circuit giving her the skills to work with the audience. “Great to be back in Birmingham –  wow lots of photographers down there, you get me shoes?”

“Johnny Got a Boom Boom” with the bass cello is New Orleans southern blues, whilst ”Go Tell the Devil” is a real see-saw of a song. The song she is probably best known for, “Inside Out”, was given the full on New Orleans blues treatment. Imelda and her band are tight and jam really well. Jools Holland rates Imelda May massively and believes she has it “in spades”. He insisted she appeared on “Later…” You can see why.

Imelda May is a real time-shift, taking you back right to the fifties musical hey-day. Standing here in the Institute, which has the over-riding feel of an old fashioned music hall, I half expected the crowd to part and American GI’s to start jiving, rock-a-biddies to jitterbug and to see The Fonz leaning up against the bar. “Aaay…”.

She would have been a big star at that time and you can see why. The audience, give her rapturous applause between songs, but were increasingly talking through the set, so when she spoke it became difficult to hear her.  I can’t really say that Imelda May is really my cup of tea. Fifties skiffle and blues is a little too far out of my musical taste – but in saying that, what she does, she does incredibly well and is indeed a massive talent.

I hope she sticks by her roots and continues to bring a unique reminder of a long ago musical hey-day, without being modernized and commercialized to meet the masses.  She’s truly unique. She doesn’t sound like anyone else. Nor does she look like anyone else. So if you fancy popping back in time for an afternoon tea or a milkshake in Arnold’s – then drop in. Happy Days.

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Listening: 

Mayhem (2010)

Love Tattoo (2008)

No Turning Back (2005)

 

Heaven 17 @ HMV Institute, 26th November 2010

Tonight it’s off to the new HMV Institute to see, what appears from the promotions, something different from your average gig – part concert and part art installation – courtesy of Heaven 17.

As part of  H17’s ‘Penthouse & Pavement 30th Anniversary UK Tour’ there will be a “live digital visual show, featuring some of the biggest names and most talented up-and-coming artists from the worlds of digital and graphic design, fine art and film.”

We are promised something different - a world-first multimedia show – right from when we walk into the venue – this should be interesting….

So first the venue – the first time I’ve been to the Institute since it morphed into it’s current HMV Institute incarnation. What a delight! Finally a glorious, small, intimate venue that Birmingham deserved and sorely missed. With great sound. And hopefully this time with the backing of the Mean Fiddler group it will survive. No more need to traipse down to London for such a venue – all we need now is a great line up of acts playing there!

Bit of background is needed, as like so many early eighties bands, original band line-ups split, morphed and did something different.  And these guys were another group inspired by the godfathers of electronic Kraftwerk. Right at the turn of the 80s, two members of the Human League, Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh walked away and formed a band / production company B.E.F. (British Electronic Foundation). Initially recording music under the guise of BEF, they subsequently recruited photographer Glenn Gregory on vocals, and became Heaven 17 (taking their name from the fictional pop group ‘The Heaven Seventeen’ from the classic film ‘A Clockwork Orange’).

So as I arrive, and set up camp on the balcony, in good view of the stage I am meet with a DJ with decks and 12″ vinyl records (remember them?) with three graphic LED panels. I’m not convinced this is a full art installation, but he’s playing classic 80s – Soft Cell’s ‘Memorabilia’, Blancmange’s ‘Living on the Ceiling’, and Devo’s ‘Whip It.’ The audience sing along. Then it’s off with the DJ and some B.E.F. Music with retro graphics on the displays. Still not convinced about the ‘world first multimedia show’ – OMD managed 3D lazer graphics at the start of their recent gig…

So then here we go – on stage come Heaven 17 –  featuring original founding members, a smart looking Glenn Gregory (lead vocals) and Martyn Ware (synthesizers, vocals and bizarrely wearing purple winkle pickers!)  supported by Billie Godfrey (backing vocals), Asa Bennett (guitar), Joel Farland (electronic percussion) and Randy Hope-Taylor (bass). The other founding member, Ian Craig Marsh, left the band during their years of hiatus in the mid noughties.

‘Penthouse and Pavement’ was released in 1981. And Heaven 17 play it tonight in track order. In ’81, while the Human League began to have commercial success, Heaven 17 found life more difficult with the first single (and first track of the evening) ‘(We don’t need this) Fascist Grove Thang’ getting limited radio play due to  Radio 1 DJ Mike Read effectively banning it due to its left wing lyrics. At a time when the Top 40  was key to success, none of the singles from this album broke into the charts.  It would be a further two years before they really made commercial success….

“The first time in 30 years in it’s entirety – why didn’t we do this before?” Gregory stated after the first song, only to regret it later in the set. After ‘Civil Warefare’ – “Too many words in the song – we never intended to play it live – I’ve a memory of a goldfish!”

After the first side of the album, an interlude of a couple of  BEF tracks: ‘Ball of Confusion’ originally sung by Tina Turner, now with the stunning vocals of Billie Godfrey, and then Gregory singing a cover of Glenn Campbell’s ‘Wichita Lineman’.

Then there was an acoustic treat, an cheeky rendition of a sister band’s classic 80’s hit,  the whole audience sang along – “Martyn won’t like this,” said Gregory, “Don’t mention it to Phil (Oakey) – our newfound friendship will be over!”

Then they ‘turned the album over, wiped it with their sleeve’ and onto side two of ‘Penthouse & Pavement’. Slight hiccup when the boys, nearly forgot ’A Song with No Name’, they completed the album with ‘We’re gonna live for a very long time’ – to a rapturous applause from the audience.

But the gig didn’t finish there, Heaven 17 switch to the hits and crank up the audience. ‘Crushed by the Wheels of Industry’, ‘Come Live with Me’ and the band’s favourite song ‘Let Me Go’ followed by a stunning dance 12 ” remix of ‘Temptation’ which was just jaw dropping.

Off and then back on for an encore – with the good question of how do you follow that? Well they did and then some – first track ( a newer song) ‘I’m Gonna Make You Fall in Love with Me’ was okay, then followed by a stunning version of The Associates ‘Party Fears Two’, a track Heaven 17 first played to honour Associate Billie McKenzie who committed suicide. A sad loss and hear-rending rendition.

Then – a treat-  a classic Human League song written by Ware, Craig Marsh and Phil Oakey. ‘Being Boiled.’ An awesome and stunning finale.

H17 were truly stunned by the audience reaction, you could tell they thoroughly enjoyed the gig, as much as the audience did. ‘We will return next year’ said Ware. If you get a chance to see Heaven 17, forget the art installation, reminisce about classic 12″ collector vinyl, cough up  £20 (which is what tonight’s prices were) and be prepared to be blown away!

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Setlist:

Side A: Penthouse and Pavement.

  1. (We Don’t Need This) Facist Grove hTang
  2. Penthouse and Pavement
  3. Play to Win
  4. Soul Warfare

Interlude:

  1. Ball of Confusion (BEF)
  2. Wichita Lineman (BEF)
  3. Don’t You Want Me (Human League Cover)

 

Side B: Penthouse and Pavement

  1. Geisha Boys and Temple Girls
  2. Let’s All Make a Bomb
  3. The Height of Fighting (He-La-Hu)
  4. Song with No Name
  5. We’re Going to Live for a Very Long Time

 

Hits:

  1. I’m Your Money
  2. Crushed by the Wheels of Industry
  3. Come with Me
  4. Let Me Go
  5. Temptation

 

Encore:

  1. I’m Gonna Make You Fall in Love with Me
  2. Party Fears Too (The Associates Cover)
  3. Being Boiled (Human League)

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Listening:

Heaven 17 – Penthouse and Pavement (1981) digitally remastered (2010)

BEF  – ‘Music For Stowaways’ and ‘Music Of Quality And Distinction Vol.1’

The Associates – Singles (2007)