Human League, ABC and Heaven 17

Carling Academy, Glasgow, Sunday 30 Nov

comments

This article is from 2008.

Human League, ABC and Heaven 17

SYNTH-POP ELECTRONICA

When David Bowie watched Human League play an early gig in 1979, he said he’d just seen ‘the future of pop music’ and their sci-fi, deadpan brand of electronica was ‘like listening to 1980’. Almost 30 years later, with synth-pop bleeping its way through another revival, his forecasting seems pretty accurate.

‘Back then we were on an evangelical mission,’ says Phil Oakey, Human League’s lead singer. ‘We wanted to make pop records, where the only element recorded with a microphone was the human voice. We didn’t want anything that made physical vibrations in the air. The first time anyone heard anything was when it came out the speakers; not when it came out the guitar or the drum.’ Their avant-garde aspirations were perfectly timed, and in the wake of krautrock, glam-rock and disco, crowds were ready to lap up Human League’s robotic, theatrical take on dance music, made by machines.

Although Oakey and the band have written fresh material recently, he says this tour, with fellow Sheffield acts, Heaven 17 and ABC, will be strictly old hits. ‘Luckily nature made my hair fall out, so I can’t make a fool of myself, pretending that I’m 22,’ he laughs, a sideways dig at the asymmetric bob that used to be his trademark. ‘I’d always wanted to be a glam pop star. We were just very lucky the right technology arrived at just the right time. Otherwise I wouldn’t be talking to you now. I’d probably be driving a taxi or something.’

This article is from 2008.

The Human League

Much-loved Sheffield electro pop pioneers offer up some prime early 80s nostalgia.

Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham

Sat 10 Dec

£40.70 / 0871 945 6000

Lincolnshire Show Ground

Sat 27 May 2017

£43.45 / 01522 522900

Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool

Wed 14 Dec

£36 / 0151 709 3789

Also on at:

Comments

Post a comment