Sounds December 1984
Pete Marchetto
A motley crew, this…
Snatch, no more than a competent club band run through a series of covers. Howcher shows he has the potential to be taken seriously as a blues singer if he can get his record company to ditch his Most Beautiful Man image. Dave Berry & The Cruisers hark back to Berry’s heyday in the early 60’s without making fools of themselves. The Human League…The Human League? For their first live appearance in two years, it was the League’s own idea to join this motley bunch playing on home turf and gaining little in the way of PR fanfare for themselves whilst undoubtedly much to boost the takings for this, a benefit gig for Ethiopia, over the £5000 mark.

If their decision to appear came as something of a surprise, then so too did the performance. Shorn of banks of electronics, they have gained the human element which, until now, has made their name ring false by its absence. With the temporary addition for this one-off of a Comsat Angel on the only set of keyboards, another on guitar, Ian Burdon on bass and, egads! a living drummer, the result is still unmistakably The Human League, but the songs have gained an edge that gives them a new lease of life.

Together In Electric Dreams becomes almost raunchy in its non-electric reality. Louise finds Oakey’s girls so enthusiastic that the blond in miniscule skirt and brunette in negligible shirt become the focus of attention for males in search of accidental revelations. With a punchy new dance number, their voices give an almost singalong feel, whilst Oakey, whose weight (increased during his absence) combined with the boyish clean-cut image giving the illusion of puppy fat, acts childishly petulant in keeping with the lyrics of Don’t You Want Me, it’s powerhouse backing showing it to be more than the weak song it had always seemed… and then, all too soon, the new-look League are gone to be replaced by… Alvin Stardust?? Well, whatever you might think of the man, he does his best and pleases his fans, swelling the cash that is to save lives in Ethiopia and that’s what matters.