www.unison.ie March 2006

John Meagher

Evergreen, still funky, Humans are in a league of their own

THE success of the Arctic Monkeys has put Sheffield on the map again.

The city that produced Pulp and Def Leppard is still ringing to the synthesised disco beat of the Human League, who are still going strong more than 20 years after their heyday.

Their sound is very much back in vogue, with some of today's most acclaimed acts putting their own spin on the band's synth pop.

After holding their own amid the bright new things at the Electric Picnic festival last year, the Human League feel at home in today's music environment.

And this Dublin gig showed that the band deserve their longevity. There was an energy to proceedings that impressed and frontman Phil Oakley (below) seems just as enthused about his music as he was when he first emerged in the late 1970s.

He may have swapped his trademark New Romantics hairdo for a number one all over, but his vocals were as distinct as ever. And his sidekicks, Susan Ann Sulley and Joanne Catherall, still harmonisd as sweetly as they used to.

'Tell Me When' was an early highlight with the four-piece band, providing a near-perfect copy of the original recorded single. And there was a predictably ecstatic reception for 'Don't You Want Me?' - the band's biggest hit and one of the defining tunes of the early 1980s. For a glorious three minutes, the band, and the crowd, partied like it was 1981.

The night wasn't without its duds, though. A horribly tuneless rendition of 'One Man In My Heart' sounded like the work on a third-rate tribute band.