The Human League live in Jamming, number 8, 1979.
The band’s singer Phil Oakey is called Phil Dakey throughout the review and I’ve kept that.
Human League – Marquee
Showing films and slides during a set used to be a ploy to make you forget the group were stationary; with the Human League it’s hip again (Just an observation…) This was the first time I’d seen the Human League, having been very impressed with what I’d heard, and they’re a group I’ll go and see again and again. The Human League are: – Phil Dakey (vocals), Ian Marsh (synthesizers), Martyn Ware (synthesizer, occasional backing vocals), and I think, Adrian, who operated the slides. These are, obviously, the vocal visual point, and they really are something special. Sometimes the visuals connect in a way you wouldn’t imagine, but they can be frightening – 10 doctors surrounding an already cut-open patient followed by a smiling butcher brandishing knives.
The songs are all very strong and grip you in a mystical way – Zero As A Limit, Circus Of Death, Being Boiled, and many others with even more ridiculous names, not forgetting my favourite, Blind Youth. The only song not to feature slides was their incredible version of You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling (I can’t explain why they do it, maybe it’s just to seem even more confusing). The encore was Rock’n’Roll Parts 1&2, joined on stage by Spizz. A bit too calculated, but a great finish.
Generally, the Human League are better on record or session than live – although of course the slide show is something special. Howabout a new gimmick then – a free slide with every record??!!
But best bit of all was when Phil Dakey looked at the slides, looked at the audience, and asked… “Do you understand all this?”