Category Archives: SHELF
MISSION OF WORLD ANIMAL DAY
To raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe. Building the celebration of World Animal Day unites the animal welfare movement, mobilising it into a global force to make the world a better place for all animals.
It’s celebrated in different ways in every country, irrespective of nationality, religion, faith or political ideology. Through increased awareness and education we can create a world where animals are always recognised as sentient beings and full regard is always paid to their welfare.
“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Mahatma Gandhi
Date: 27 September 2017
Artist: Heaven 17
Venue: Highline Ballroom
Location: New York, NY USA
Ticket Price (USD): $30.00
I have a short list of active artists on my concert bucket list. Opportunities arose to cross off a couple upon learning that both Front 242 and Saint Etienne would be stopping in New York this month on their respective North American tours. And then came huge news via a post on Post Punk Monk’s blog that Heaven 17 would be squeezing two US dates into their travel itinerary.
Alas, all those shows were scheduled during the week—getting older has made the attendance of midweek concerts more challenging, and the prospect of driving 200 miles round trip posed an even greater deterrent. Not much in the mood for fun these days, I had consequently resigned myself to forego seeing any of those acts.
However, Heaven 17 have never played live in the United States, and may never do so again. In the end, the temptation was too great, and I decided that missing the Sheffield legends would be the foolish thing to do.
While not a follower of H17, my best friend Todd declared his desire to attend the show, and so two general admission tickets were purchased during the presale period. In 2016, Todd and I had the pleasure of seeing Glenn Gregory perform with Tony Visconti’s Bowie tribute supergroup, Holy Holy; that memorable experience acquainted us with Gregory’s live chops.
On the eve of the show, we motored up north to Manhattan, and found free street parking mere meters from the venue entrance. And as I looked around to verify the spot’s validity, Glenn Gregory walked by, perhaps on his way to grab a bite of the Big Apple.
Highline Ballroom is a hip, intimate space situated in NY’s Chelsea neighborhood. Its flexible floor plan allows for a maximum capacity of 700 standing or 400 fully seated patrons. Todd and I grabbed a table at the front of the balcony and enjoyed tasty fare and cocktails before the main event.
At exactly 8:00 PM, the “BEF Ident” played over the Highline Ballroom’s exceptional sound system as H17 took to the stage, and opened with a cover of The Human League’s “Circus Of Death.” Augmented by keyboardist Berenice Scott and vocalist Rachel Mosley, Gregory and Ware electrified the house with hit singles and album cuts, predominantly drawn from their first two LPs. Rendered live, the old tracks were given a new, contemporary sheen, while still retaining their unique integrity.
Early on, Gregory joked that the setlist left no room for chit-chat; however, he did find time to banter with partner Martyn Ware, notably poking fun at Ian Craig Marsh’s absence and Phil Oakey’s asymmetrical haircut from days of yore.
As the group launched into “Fascist Groove Thang”, I was prepared to hear updated lyrics identifying the current fascist US President; alas, Gregory stuck to the script, and an ideal opportunity for social commentary was missed. However, that was the only disappointment of the evening.
A delightful detour during the otherwise fast-paced set was Gregory and Ware’s hypnotic duet of “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”, as per the arrangement on The Human League’s “Reproduction.”
As has been H17’s practice in recent years, their biggest chart hit “Temptation” was programmed as the splendid Brothers In Rhythm remix from 1992. And Rachel Mosley’s pipes proved perfectly capable of handing the tune’s requisite vocal gymnastics.
Given The Thin White Duke’s influence on H17, as well as Gregory’s affiliation with Holy Holy, the inclusion of a Bowie song in the set seemed likely; the surprising choice was a cover of “Let’s Dance” quite faithful to the original. Additionally, Gregory and Scott performed “Life On Mars” as the first encore selection.
The quartet closed out the night as it had begun: covering a classic tune by The ‘proper’ Human League. The packed house was more than pleased.
SETLIST (Start: 8:00 PM; End: 9:40 PM)
01 Circus Of Death
02 (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang
03 Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry
04 Play To Win
05 (And That’s No Lie)
06 Geisha Boys And Temple Girls
07 Come Live With Me
08 You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling
09 We Live So Fast
10 Let’s Dance
11 Let’s All Make A Bomb
12 Let Me Go
13 Penthouse And Pavement
15 Life On Mars
16 Being Boiled
Heaven 17’s long overdue stateside visit was certainly worth the wait. Hopefully, fans may look forward to future appearances on this side of the pond.
Produced by the US War Department in 1947, this short educational film conveys the evils of fascism.
“I’ve heard this kind of talk before, but I never expected to hear it in America.”
Given what’s going on in the world right now, we could all use a fun and uplifting distraction like today’s Google Doodle: