By Andrew Mosley
WHEN?: Saturday 13 November 2021, Heaven 17 tour the UK and Europe until July 2022. Pete Wylie
Glenn Gregory has just got a new whippet. He tells us this because Associates singer Billy McKenzie gave him his first one more than three decades ago and he’s about to pay tribute to his late friend by belting out a tear-jerking version of Party Fears Two.
- Read on for reasons including how Sheffield got 2 great bands for the price of 1
That, a cover of Bowie’s Let’s Dance and The Human League’s Being Boiled, written by Heaven 17 keyboardist Martyn Ware before he was “kicked out” of Phil Oakey’s soon-to-be chart toppers, form an encore that demonstrate just how adaptable these Sheffield electro pioneers are.
Opening the night, Liverpool maverick Pete Wylie provides a handful of cracking songs, some great one liners and a demonstration to Heaven 17 fans of what a guitar is!
He belts out Comeback, Sinful, Story Of The Blues and Heart As Big As Liverpool (“All my songs are about Liverpool apart from this one”) before making way for the headliners, but for those who enjoyed him and don’t know, there’s a bucket load more of great tunes from Wylie.
Check out his full set when he tours again.
He makes way for Heaven 17, who are clearly up for this in front of their home city crowd.
Gregory, a youthful looking 63, waves the microphone in the air as he leaps around the stage, his crystal clear voice moving from deep to high pitched seemingly without any difficulty as the crowd lap up Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry, (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang and his and Ware’s favourite H17 song Let Me Go.
A fantastic version of Come Live With Me gets everyone in the mood, with And That’s No Lie, Penthouse and Pavement and Sunset Now quickly serving to highlight just how many great songs they have written.
Two backing singers and a keyboardist (Ware’s fellow former Human Leaguer Ian Craig Marsh is no longer in the band) do an excellent job and make sure a joyful Temptation is most people’s highlight of the night.
You can hear New Order, fellow Sheffielders Cabaret Voltaire and maybe even Kraftwerk in their songs, but very definitely the League.
“Forty years ago Martyn got kicked out of the Human League…. which is nothing to celebrate,” grins Gregory.”Except by you,” replies Ware, before Being Boiled reveals just how good a tunesmith he is – as if we didn’t already know.
Maybe it is also being celebrated by everyone in the O2 Academy tonight though as Sheffield got two great bands for the price of one.
- Pictures via Facebook by Electronic Rumours courtesy Heaven 17 Tickets
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