Heaven 17, Gig Review. East Village Arts Centre, Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10

Lead us not into temptation… unless of course it is by the firm hand and knowing smiles of Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware of the sensational Heaven 17.

These words must have passed the vast majority of lips of those attending the second night of the Heaven 17 tour many times in the preceding weeks leading up to the gig at the East Village Arts Centre in Liverpool. By the end of the night, by the time that Martin Ware had conjured up enticing music from out of the ether and Glenn Gregory had sang with the power of a male siren luring all to the ship of musical entanglement and provocative craving, those words would have been uttered in each audience member’s sleep but with spoken with no conviction, for all it seemed were entranced by the stage presence and desire raging three feet above them.

There were many reasons for the dangerous but completely warranted slide into musical hedonism, the craving sensation of witnessing a sort of re-establishing of the lines that separate fully great pop music from one particular decade from those, with a few notable exceptions, that followed it, trailing and floundering in its wake.

A re-birth and subtle revaluation of the decade that pioneered the electronic sound might not be the hardest thing to think about in the cold dark hours but it does seem kind of peculiar that the late 70s and 80s produced so many bands capable of exposing a new sound to listeners and yet nothing really has come along to replace it, it is as if the pioneers cannot be matched or emulated. It is perhaps no wonder that Folk, Blues and other genres have had such a surge in popularity as the gap threated to become a vacuum.

There was no end to the atmospheric presence, the stimulating effect of well-produced notes and satisfying beat as the band played songs such as (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang, Geisha Boys and Temple Girls, the splendour of Come Live With Me, Crushed By The Wheels of Industry, the surprise of Sun Set Now, Let Me Go, Dive, Penthouse and Pavements and the majesty of The Righteous Brothers’ hit You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling, which was played with the undercurrent feeling of total abandonment, of an undisguised loss that gave the song such heart-breaking potential.

Lead us not into temptation…why not? If it works, which is plainly does whenever Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware step on stage, then who should tell you otherwise, some sounds and songs are just too good to ignore.

Ian D. Hall