Heaven 17 Are Preparing To Give Us The Luxury We Deserve

The poster as seen here loses the blistering irony of the cover from which it was taken [below]

It’s been 35 years since the second Heaven 17 album took them from cult act to chart act so it must be time for an anniversary tour, yes? When the first single from “The Luxury Gap” appeared in the form of the wondrous “Let Me Go,” it was apparent that a sea change had occurred and the former critics darlings would be headed for the top of the charts. The single was funky, yet sophisticated, with a cinematic arrangement that really went places. At that point, Heaven 17 had moved up a few rungs in the core collection. I was aghast when the single failed to take them to their rightful place at the top of the UK charts, not even breaking the UK Top 40. In a shocking move, the song remains Heaven 17’s sole beachhead in the traditionally indifferent US charts, having made #4o on Billboard’s Dance Chart and made inroads into the US Hot 100 at #74.

It remained until the second single, “Temptation,” before the charts opened up to the former Human League members who had spent the previous year watching the lead singer of that band conquer the UK Top 10 with his all-new band. Meanwhile, ridiculously on point singles like “Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry” were now getting airplay during Thatcher’s Reign. How sweet it was. And the bitterest pill I’ve ever had to swallow was the fact that the pointed political message of that and many a Heaven 17 song never ceased to be relevant in my lifetime. Only more so with the passage of decades. Sigh.

If only this had been a gatefold cover in 1982 it could have had this ultimate impact… but they would still be in debt for it today!

H17 live ©2016 Keith Ainsworth

Alas, Heaven 17 burnt out by the late 80s only to regroup a decade later with their still amazing ” Bigger Than America” album. Since then, the traditionally studio-only band has taken to the stage now that the technology is far more reliable to put their message across. Over the last 20 years, they have managed to build one of the best live bands in Britain. And this year they will be playing a “Luxury Gap” tour to commemorate their number four album that was so lush and ornate, that they only repaid the debt of recording it a few years back! I can’t say whether they will have a horn section with them on this tour or not, but the contribution of The Phenix Horns to the overall complexion of “The Luxury Gap” was profound, and I would not be surprised to see at least Pete Thoms and John Walters from Landscape doing the honors on this tour.

Claudia @ Scala | March 2, 2011 by Roger Goodgroves

Better yet, the opening act for all of the dates is close friend of the band Claudia Brücken with Susanne Freytag playing a set that may contain a lot of the xPropaganda material they did two sold out concerts of just a few days ago. We just can’t seem to shake this lady of late! So what was already a must-see tour became even better. If any UK readers fancy seeing Heaven 17 telling it like it is with their top-selling album I would encourage you to act fast. The presale tickets sold out up front with the general sale having gone on sale last Friday morning. The ten dates may not be long for this world of ticket sales.

Heaven 17 | ‘Luxury Gap’ 35th Anniversary UK Tour | 2018

9 November | Northampton | Roadmender
10 November | Norwich | UEA
16 November | Bournemouth | O2 Academy
17 November | Birmingham | O2 Institute
23 November | Glasgow | O2 ABC
24 November | Liverpool | O2 Academy
30 November | London | O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
1 December | Bristol | O2 Academy
7 December | Manchester | O2 Ritz
8 December | Sheffield | O2 Academy

– 30 –

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8 Responses to Heaven 17 Are Preparing To Give Us The Luxury We Deserve

  1. Richard Anvil says:

    Saw these guys live in Norwich only a few months ago, with Blancmange as support, and they were amazing. It was a small venue (unsurprisingly they have gone for a much bigger one for this new tour as that show sold out) and at the end of the show I got to chat to Martyn and Glenn, get their autographs and shake their hands in a very informal setting (Martyn told me that the blue plaque in Sheffield commemorating where The Human League first performed live is on the wrong building). The set included the vast majority of The Luxury Gap (Crushed, Let Me Go, Temptation, Come Live With Me, Live So Fast and Best Kept Secret) many in an updated style as well as tracks from Penthouse and Pavement (P&P, Play To Win, The Height of the Fighting, Song With No Name, Soul Warfare, Geisha Boys and Temple Girls, Facsist Groove Thang, Lets All Make a Bomb, and the 12″ version of I’m Your Money) How Men Are (Sunset Now and a full length version of That’s No Lie..), Bigger Than America (Dive, Freak and We Blame Love) and a couple of tracks from the recent 12″ only releases, then finally Being Boiled and The Black Hit of Space. The two guys had some real banter going on, mainly around Glenn swearing and Martyn refusing too, but both seriously enjoying themselves. No live horn section as they were played as samples from the computer so I doubt there will be a real horn section. With Ms Brucken in attendence for the new tour it seems very likely that When Your Heart Runs Out Of Time will get a live airing and maybe she might do the vocals for Temptation as per the original demo version (though I doubt it).

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Richard Anvil – Sounds beyond fantastic! I was most thrilled by the three tracks from “Bigger Than America.” That is amazement to me. Don’t be so sure they won’t opt for the Brücken/demo version of “Temptation” possibly as an encore. They did it at Claudia’s “This Happened” show in 2011 so lightning could strike twice. But they would probably do this in addition to the ironclad “Temptation” they normally song with the incomparable Billie Godfrey. Did you ever hear the “Live At Metropolis” CD/DVD? It’s phenomenal. At the very least, you are hopefully right about “When Your Heart Runs Out Of Time.” At least, I hope so.

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  2. Tim says:

    Claudia Fontaine of Afrodiziak died on March 13th, they sang backing vocals on Sunset Now which is one of my preferred H17 tracks, as well as a lot of 80’s acts from Howard Jones to Julia Fordham.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Tim – Yeah, I saw that in The Guardian when she died. There were a lot of Afrodiziak BVs out there! She enhanced Elvis Costello, Heaven 17, Claudia Brücken, Dusty Springfield, Sam Brown, and Pulp discs in my Record Cell.

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  3. Echorich says:

    Shepards Bush Empire tix purchased as well as R/T flight to London for a week. Tired of missing one of the bands that has never ceased to mean something special to me. The chance to hear Lady Hex and Mr. Ice as well as Keys To The World is just unmissable.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – I will need to front you merch money, then! Gnash! I am so dumbfounded that I did not expend the cash to see them in NYC last year!! What was I thinking!!?? Who know show many more decades until their next gig over here.

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      • Echorich says:

        Yes, this is literally only going to cost a few hundred more to see them in London in the end. NOT going to let 2 opportunities slip through my fingers. I missed them at Heaven back in 1997 by 10 days!

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  4. Obviously Sheffield would be the place to see them on this tour, but I’m quite fond of Birmingham since that’s the last place I saw them (as regular PPM readers know), so if I have the funds closer to the date (crosses fingers), I will use them in pursuit of that goal!

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