Heaven 17 + Blancmange: Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together

h17-blancmange tour 2014The last few weeks have seen me slightly obsessed* with Heaven 17’s sophomore triumph album “The Luxury Gap.” I’ve had to resist listening to it on a loop in my car for days at a time. The killer cut this month, after 31 years of enjoyment? “Lady Ice + Mr. Hex,” since you asked. In a rare casual moment while taking my lunch break last Saturday, I wondered what was up with Heaven 17 and their stated goal of writing a new album this year. In addition, around this time last year, Martyn Ware was hoping for a H17 US tour this year with pals DEVO, so I headed to heaven17.com and was agog to see that the wheels of industry were still turning; just not in ways I’d anticipated.

The Sheffield duo have scheduled an Autumn tour with the charming and delightful Blancmange! Proviso? It’s in the UK only, of course, but don’t let that stop you from attending, if you have the cash and interest. I can see that this would play very well in concert and applaud the good sense behind the decision of the bands to tour together. In a perfect world, I’d be interested in hearing how Glenn Gregory and Neil Arthur would sound singing together. That would be two powerful voices converging. Maybe lucky concertgoers will get the privilege next month. Here is where they will be playing:

Heaven 17/Blancmange | Tour of Synthetic Delights | UK 2014

  • October 23 | The Tivoli | Buckley

  • October 24 | The East Village Arts Club | Liverpool

  • October 25 | King Georges Hall | Blackburn

  • October 26 | O2 Academy | Newcastle
  • November 6 | O2 Academy | Leeds
November 7 | Corn Exchange | Bedford
November 8 | Oakengate Theatre | Telford

  • November 9 | The Brook | Southampton
November 13 | The Forum | London
November 14 | O2 Academy | Bristol

  • November 24 | The Assembly | Leamington Spa

Better yet, Heaven 17 have not been sitting idle in between rehearsals. A subtle blurb on their website tucked away under the tour dates revealed that they are in the studio recording new material which will be released in a limited vinyl-only issue. Can you smell a Record Day Exclusive for 2015? I knew you could. Well, seeing that I still haven’t bought the RSD releases by John Foxx and Simple Minds from 2014 yet, I suppose that I’ll have to add this to the long, mental queue for records that will cost me a fortune in shipping charges. Sigh. At any rate, one hopes that the “new album” will be more than a 12″ in April. If a RSD release is a taster for the main event to follow [hopefully in 2015] I’ll be a lot happier.

– 30 –

* In between obsessive spinnings of Grace Jones’ “Nightclubbing…”

p.p.s – Did you spot the Photoshop error on the poster?

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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18 Responses to Heaven 17 + Blancmange: Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together

  1. Simon H says:

    Lucky to be attending the Bristol gig! Very much looking forward to it.


  2. jamtei says:

    Is Stephen Luscombe healthy enough to be joining Blancmange? I believe (you me) that he sat out the tour supporting their surprisingly good recent disc. He is 50% of the band, after all…


    • postpunkmonk says:

      jamtei – Good point. As far as I know, the health issues that took Luscombe out of the picture for the last tour have not changed their status. Until word comes from the Blancmange camp, I would assume that Luscombe will be siting out any live tour action. Sadly.


  3. Echorich says:

    There must be more to it than just your obsession Monk, I have been listening constantly to H17’s third installment in their manifesto to combine, synths with social, economic and personal politics. By How Men Are, the band was firmly a part of Red Wedge and card carrying members of CND. From Five Minutes To Midnight, to Sunset Now and And That’s No Lie, the obsurdity of the “great powers” race to mutual destruction was pervasive on the album. But it was wisely interwoven with stories of empty success – This Is Mine and regret – The Skin I’m In.
    To look back at H17’s very rich carrier, I always group the first three albums together as they play off many constant themes. The Luxury Gap translated the groundbreaking synth funk and social commentary into song which were surprisingly universal in their appeal. Sure it was a slow burner when released, with Let Me Go only mildly appealing to the charts, but took off with a storm of success with the followups Temptation, Come Live With Me and Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry. They even achieved a Top 5 with Let Me Go on the US Dance Charts. The Luxury Gap more than any other synth album, for me, conveys the warmth that can be achieved from electronic pop.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – “The Luxury Gap” was warm because they brought in string orchestras, Earth, Wind + Fire’s Phenix Horns, pianist Nick Plytas, and session drummer to the stars Simon Phillips to peacefully coexist with all of their synths! Of course, the bill for it all was such that they paid off the debt engendered by the hit album some time about a decade ago, according to what Ware has stated in his podcast. I say it was worth it.


      • Echorich says:

        My favorite commentary on The Luxury Gap’s success is both Martyn and Glenn agreeing that their success was measured in how much more they could get in the drinks and dinners for friends and family and that aside from falling into the 80’s cocaine fueled spiral, they were very happy with that.


  4. Simon H says:

    Happy to take any merch table orders – let me know!


  5. Simon H says:

    No problem.


  6. Yes I did spot the PS error — as usual, look to the a-hole! :)


  7. Simon H says:

    Great gig last night here in Bristol. First time for me with Blancmange, third with H17. One of those rare nights where afterwards you find your throat raw from singing/shouting and your facial muscles aching from 120 minutes of smiling…
    Two bands whose humility and joy in what they do wins you over immediately. Glen Gregory and Martin Ware seem to have genuine affection for each other and the rest of the band looked as though they were having a great time, which always helps. H17 previewed two new songs, both sounded good to me, available on vinyl but the cd had been delayed sadly. You can’t beat the effect of those huge slabs of synth! They even added a bunch of League songs. I hope they make it over to the States at some point.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Simon H – What a great night you must have had if your face muscles were strained from the smiling! If you think that Glenn and and Martyn have affection for one another, you don’t know the half of it! You should listen to their podcast; they sound like brothers! Ironically, Glenn is the older brother, in terms of their relationship. You hope they make it over to The States? That isn’t the half of it, pal! I’ve been waiting for this, seriously now, for at least ten years. I will travel for this if it ever happens! So now they do “a bunch of League songs?” That’s as it should be! Phil and The Girls® will never touch that material and it should be Heaven 17’s to use as they will. I just got the “Live At Metropolis” set and I was thrilled to see that it contained “Black Hit Of Space” and [!!!] “Don’t You Want Me!” I have not had a chance to listen to it yet, though. It’s all Simple Minds, all the time right now. By the way, what League material figured in their set? Also, I was just at the H17 website last week and saw news of the new single. Very nice and I hope I can mail order this if there’s any left from the tour.


  8. Simon H says:

    Circus of Death, Crow and a Baby, Being Boiled and their cover of You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling. After Circus Glen quipped something along the lines of, ‘they don’t make e’em like that any more!’.Must try the podcast, they’re genuinely funny together.
    There were quite a few tingles down the spine, Let Me Go in particular, there were calls from the crowd to ‘play it again’:). They have gently updated a couple of songs but without losing the essence of what made them great 30 plus years back.
    I’ll let you get back to Simple Minds:) Very easy to lose yourself there, happy for the GPA to continue until Xmas!


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Simon H – Those are some great choices for H17! I’m listening to “Big Music” for the third time -right now- and my spine won’t stop tingling! I hope we can move on by the New Year.


  9. Simon H says:

    It’s on my playlist for today as well! Look forward ro reading your thoughts eventually:)


  10. Simon H says:

    Excuse the typos – not wearing my glasses!


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