Then Dracula (or Martyn Ware, if you like.) stepped onto the stage.
Holy shit, the crowd went mental.
Heaven 17 blew me away. And that’s no easy feat – this was seriously hard hitting stuff. With three lovely ladies providing pretty damn stunning choral vocals, a mass of atmosphere and a performance that went above and beyond their studio material, this is a band that lived and breathed what the weekend stood for. All in some sort of spooky get up – Joker style make up, the aforementioned count, black dresses and face paint, Halloween truly was the order of the night. Glenn Gregory’s vocals are still perfectly in check, and such was their draw that to reach the entrance to the hall was now rendered impossible.
What was a crowd loosely scattered across the venue was now a crowd throwing itself forward at this group of 1980s rowdies providing some of the finest I’ve ever seen on the Pavilion stage. Not a single negative mark here – their performance was thorough, full in volume and breadth and, perhaps most importantly, chock full of communication and humour that made every member of the audience feel comfortable and at home watching the group play – whether young or old. Despite being one of the more established groups performing this weekend, we got firm introductions and even discussion and a little bit of history. This is a serious asset to any live performance, and 17 flourished on getting the crowd – and every person on stage – involved. We even got a cheeky cover of a Human League track. That’ll do for me, lads!
This is evidently a band that have mastered themselves over their career – to the point that their studio material seems rather pale in comparison. The group surprised, entertained and left me utterly amazed as they stepped proudly off of the stage, capes flapping in the wind.
This is not a group of old boys, and they’re far from irrelevant, either. They’re smart, they’re loaded with satire and commentary on the background they were born from and they sound absolutely fantastic. It’s a sheer spectacle to see such a large group of people work to such an inimitable standard.
If you get a chance to see these chaps performing? Stalk them. Stalk them to the ends of the Earth – they’re bloody brilliant.