Heaven 17 , Penthouse and Pavement show, The Forum Kentish Town,
OMD kicked off the trend of eighties bands debuting their album 2 years ago in 2008 and since there has been an unstoppable momentum with bands such as ABC, The Sparks , The Mission , UB40,Human League and AHA all showcasing their seminal works. Some may cynically say its cashing in but I count myself blessed that I have been able to see some of my favourite albums like Architecture and Morality, Dare and Lexicon of Love. So to see a fifth album live from one of my all time favourite bands was a treat and they did not let me down.
Penthouse and Pavement in some ways was ahead of its time. It combined cool electro dance grooves with simple yet incisive social commentaries on big political and social themes of the time with songs like Fascist Groove Thang – the first track of the album and the gig and Let’s All Make a Bomb. Lead singer Glenn Gregory rich baritone voice gave the album and indeed, the concert gravitas. Now, there comes a time when it’s impossible to take out the notebook and makes notes. As I love the album and group, it was impossible to review objectively. So the book and pen went away and I just hung back chilled out and enjoyed the show at the lovely little venue. I didn’t stop moving and dancing (or what passes for it) all evening.
They were clever, they crafted the show well, playing the album in song order but splitting up the A and B sides of the album with tracks they did with Tina Turner and BEF pseudonym. Also, something I thought I would never – Heaven 17 singing Glenn Camp ell’s “Wichita Linesman”. When the album was played through, we were treated to four tracks from second album Luxury Gap, including a mass sing-along with most famous hit “Temptation” and a blinding” rendition of the super-slick soul electro “Let Me Go”. A couple more surprises were to come. The first was the uniquely-styled 80’s soul ballad “Sign You Name” (originally by Terence Trent D’ Arby) that group sand La Roux earlier in the year; and a fabulous arrangement of The Associates 1982 hit “Party Fear Two” .The spirit of Billy McKenzie, “God rest his soul” as Gregory said, could be felt as The Forum fell silent in respect of this lost cult figure. You could have heard a pin as Gregory’s mournful voice filled the theatre with only the studied piano keyboard of Martyn Ware accompanying.
I am completed completely biased but this was an amazing gig rounded off by the chance I got to shake Gregory and have a brief chat after the show. I left completely buzzing . And so, long may the group continue
Ok at the entry, quite friendly but a little terse when I found myself in the VIP bar area by mistake so only 4 stars instead of 5
Lovely, Compact Theatre, Easy to see from any vantage point.