The Scotsman December 2008

SHEFFIELD'S electronic music pioneers were the sound of the future – yet now, obviously, they're the sound of the past. But despite receding hairlines, a nostalgic audience and setlists of just the old hits, the three bands under the Steel City Tour banner don't seem like they're only going through the retro circuit motions.

Heaven 17's attacks on soulless yuppies should have dated horribly, but with Glenn Gregory still in fine voice, Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry and the gloriously melodramatic Come Live With Me sounded surprisingly fresh. By the time they unveiled an energetic remix of Temptation they'd triumphantly reasserted themselves.

ABC, though, never quite recovered their mojo after Martin Fry famously flushed his original gold lamé suit down a Tokyo toilet, and their set had some noticeable lags. How To Be A Millionaire still sounds like it's trying too hard and When Smokey Sings featured the kind of sax solo that gave the 1980s a bad name. That said, the songs from their classic Lexicon Of Love album are still irresistible.

The Human League's ambitious closing set threw in a bit of everything from their more experimental early stuff to the pop hits, snazzy neon displays, costume changes and a "keytar" (a shoulder-slung keyboard).

There were some odd conjunctions – the fearsome electro funk of Sound Of The Crowd following daft protest song The Lebanon, but somehow it all worked and the band seemed revitalised.Ending with Together In Electric Dreams seemed apt: all three of these bands are still dreaming them.