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2nd october

If size matters, no one told heaven 17. this gig may not be on the scale of some of their past shows, but glenn gregory and Martyn Ware make sure tonight’s performance is as triumphant, and with the audience at highbury’s intimate garage in fine form the duo (and band) hit their groove right from the get-go.

With no fancy light show to distract, unless you count the syncopated flash of smartphones, this is heaven 17 stripped back to the essentials and sounding bang up to date. the band is currently a honed five-piece, and Ware is joined by berenice Scott (daughter of M’s robin Scott and cover star of his 1979 hit single Pop Muzik) on keys and beats and gregory’s soaring vocals are complemented by rachel Mosleh and billie godfrey.

Ware has long since reclaimed his years as a vital part of the human League’s early line-up, so it’s no surprise that an anthemic version of Being Boiled b-side Circus Of Death opens the show, followed mid-set by Crow And A Baby from 1980’s Travelogue. What follows is a c90’s worth of classics, primarily taken from their first two albums, Penthouse & Pavement and The Luxury Gap. their influence on current bands such as hurts and hot chip is plain to see when they launch into (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang, neatly segued into the highnrg they play so well, Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry and Geisha Boys.

Come Live With Me, I’m Your Money and Penthouse & Pavement highlight h17’s prowess at writing smouldering pop, as does last year’s single Pray, which sits comfortably amongst their greatest hits. Play To Win is announced by glenn as the band’s favourite song, until Martyn corrects him, saying he meant Let Me Go and that he owed him £50 for the mistake. to make up for the gaffe they play both back to back, electrifying the room.

There was only ever going to be one way to finish off such a dramatic set and that was with a temperature-raising version of their biggest hit, Temptation – the 12” version.

With no time for the audience to draw breath, the group return to the stage. having long extolled david bowie’s influence – and given glenn’s participation in tony Visconti and Woody Woodmansey’s holy holy project – it comes as little surprise when they let loose with two blistering interpretations of two of bowie’s finest, Life On Mars and Boys Keep Swinging, before dusting off the single that began their journey:1978’s throbbing Being Boiled allows them to depart on an ecstatic high. Pete Avery

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About Classic Pop

The results are in! The latest issue features the Classic Pop 'Top 100 Albums of the Eighties' - as decided by our readers - including the classics of the decade, some cult favourites and a few wildcards to boot. PLUS! We give the Classic Pop verdict on David Bowie's new album 'Blackstar'… Elsewhere in the issue we investigate the classic pop of Christmas, delve into Sparks' weird and wonderful back catalogue, survey Simple Mind's classic album 'Once Upon A Time' and take a closer look at the leftfield sleeve art of John Foxx. Interviews include Visage's Steve Barnacle, Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze, Susanna Hoffs, McAlmont & Butler and modern synthpop duo Hurts.