Heaven 17, Gig Review. Hanger 34, Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10

If there is a place beyond this mortal coil in which the good might be seen to live on, to continue offering words of sage advice and the beat of ten thousand rampant hearts crying out for more, then it arguably should have a number attached to the end of the everlasting; 17 would always be a comforting pulse, a groove to get behind and in Heaven 17 the sense of 80s enveloped pop was always going to be a night of paradise and ecstasy for those at Liverpool’s Hanger 34.

In recent years Heaven 17 have come to Liverpool with a sense of rapture inspired sets, a blissful memory enhanced by appearances at the 02 Academy and The Arts Club, the good and the 80s highlights making their way to feed off the intense energy supplied by Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware. It felt as if the world and its wife were inside the venue, such was the sense of feverish anticipation for the return of one the godfathers of synthesizer induced New Wave pioneers to the city by the Mersey, the sound of the futuristic and the heartfelt making the night one of high expectation and delivered style.

There has always been style in abundance when it comes to Heaven 17, a volcano’s wrath underscored by the sound of grace and elegance that always seemed to come naturally to the fore as the band took their rightful place at the top of the electronic table. It was style that flooded off the stage and added to the persuasive nature kick started by the tremendous support of Blancmange.

Perhaps it is the sign of the times we live in, arguably more divisive, more politically alienating and disruptive than for many in the audience can possibly remember, but the opener of (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang has perhaps never felt more enlightening and the urge to sing out louder than ever in the face of such insane reasoning, never more demanding.

With songs such as Crushed by the Wheels of Industry, Play To Win, Geisha Boys and Temple Girls, a beguiling version of the Righteous Brothers’ classic You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling, Temptation and the tribute to the much missed David Bowie in a fantastic reading of Life on Mars, the atmosphere inside Hanger 34 was electrified, emotional and absolutely gripping; a thrill ride that only Heaven 17 can offer with such thought provoking stimulation and care.

Ian D. Hall