Croydon Guardian December 2003

Gary O Connell

Still in a league of their own

It has been 20 years since The Human League were at the height of their fame when their essential album, Dare, dominated the charts.

At the Fairfield last Friday, they rolled back the years with a host of perfectly formed hits.

Glamour was what separated the League from its contemporaries. This was demonstrated by support act John Foxx who, in spite of good synth-driven music, was limited by his utter lack of stage presence.

This was a perennial problem for purveyors of 80s electronica banks of machinery don't make much of a floorshow.

The Human League circumvent this by flanking Phil Oakey on stage, and in song, with Susan Sulley and Joanne Catherall. The three of them crystalised the heavily made-up chic of the early 80s.

Ridiculously cool in their day they remain remarkably fashion-conscious.

But their true strength rests in fusing artificial sounds with a human sensibility for pop in tracks like Don't You Want Me Baby and Mirror Man. The result made them one of Britain's best electronic bands and I'm happy to report they can play live too.

My only criticism would be that at an hour and 20 minutes they could have included two or three more hits. But then, they're only human.