O2 Academy Bournemouth

So, despite being late to the party in the mid 80’s and purchasing a copy of The Luxury Gap from a second hand record shop; I was always secretly a fan. Sadly I never got the chance to see the band back in the day, but this was rectified last July at the Sign Of The Times festival in Hertfordshire – a celebration of all things New Romantic and Indie. I caught the band in full flow on the main stage during a brilliant late afternoon set, and I have to say I was literally blown away. Knowing they were Bournemouth bound this Autumn, I planned to attend to see if that performance could be matched in a proper music venue? Well I need not have worried…

Opening for the band is none other than original Blitz DJ and stalwart of the early New Romantic heyday, Mr. Rusty Egan who palys a stellar set taking us through the 80’s; back to the 70’s and forward again. It’s the perfect way to start the night and gets everyone in the mood early doors.

Promoting their seminal album The Luxury Gap they are greeted by good numbers in Bournemouth’s o2, and it would appear that most of tonight’s audience were fans the first time around. So, where better than to start at the beginning with “Crushed By The Wheels Of Indusry” which is sadly ruined with an over-bearing bass reverb. Thankfully this is remedied by the time of the poignant “Who’ll Stop The Rain”.

Glen (Gregory) is owning the stage early doors as he starts to move around. Band/crowd banter is the order of the day (or night) as we get many a story or anecdote – nothing is off limits. “Let Me Go” doesn’t disappoint while ‘Key To the World’ is accompanied by Glen referencing his move from Sheffield to London (and back) while armed with lyrics and ideas.

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“Temptation” I guess is the most well known H17 track and is given the full intro harmonising from their more than capable backing singers, before Glenn steps forward to take the main vocal. This is an early crowd pleaser and has the whole room singing the chorus back at the band. More self-deprecating stories come in the shape of footnotes from early musical moments in 80’s Sheffield and another band called The Human League. What might have been… A great cameo of “Don’t You Want Me Baby” is not out of place as Glenn and Martin (keys) really start to let loose. “Come Live With Me” is equally pleasurable as Glenn once more engages with those near the front. “Lady Ice and MR Hex” may not have aged as well as other cuts here but “We Live So Fast” severely tests Glenn’s vocal. The end of the main set is upon us with “The Best Kept Secret” and we duly get all the other bangers.

Take your pick from “Fascist Groove Thing”, “Penthouse And Pavement” or “Let’s Make A Bomb” and one would be spoilt for choice, but Glenn evokes memories of their first T.O.T.P.’S appearance when reminiscing his pride during a note perfect “Play To Win”. More stories of the Sheffield melting pot that produced these fine bands, mixed with original songs and one or two more covers.

They eventually laeve the stage after a solid 90 minutes, only to return with three choice covers. This being an 80’s Retro show it seemed somewhat fitting for the band to cover Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “The Power Of Love”. No mean feat for lesser mortals but it is delivered (almost) note perfect and one could hear a pin drop, such is the concentration on this crowd’s faces.

I have to say David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” was a strange choice, Glenn is keen to stress that many a Bowie number has peppered their live outings but I was maybe hoping for “Heroes”?! But they save the best ’til last with “Being Boiled”, which reverberates around the room with echo. To sum up, after forty years Heaven 17 show no intentions of throwing in the towel just yet. And with a body of work like theirs to pull from one gets the impression these songs will still be enjoyed in years to come.

Set List
Crushed by the Wheels of Industry
Key to the World
Who’ll Stop the Rain
Come Live With Me
Lady Ice and Mr Hex
Don’t You Want Me (Human League cover)
We Live So Fast
The Best Kept Secret
Let Me Go
(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang
I’m Your Money
And That’s No Lie
Play to Win
Penthouse and Pavement

The Power of Love (Frankie Goes to Hollywood cover)
Let’s Dance (David Bowie cover)
Being Boiled (Human League cover)



Review and Videos by Ross A. Ferrone
Photography by Lynn Burt

Heaven 17