GLASGOW 2007 REVIEWS December 2007

Andrew Eaton

Daring set but they were born to make mistakes

HUMAN League shows have long been a mix of the sublime and the atrocious. Despite having a rich back catalogue of electropop classics, from Empire State Human to Mirror Man, they remain insistent on playing their gloopiest, blandest hits too - the excruciating ballad Human being a regular low-point of any League set.

The gloop comes mostly from the mid-1980s, when the group, like their contemporaries OMD, lost their way somewhat. This latest show, then, was a rare treat - a brilliantly played romp through the whole of their best album, 1981's Dare, an inspired mix of their early avant-garde leanings and a newfound pop sensibility, which they have never matched since. As a collection, it's virtually a greatest hits set - The Sound of the Crowd, Open Your Heart, Love Action and Don't You Want Me are all on there, the last two ending the album, and the first part of Sunday's set, with a rousing climax. Being the League, they had to sabotage proceedings somehow, and did so by deciding that the best way to inspire audience affection for their 1980s heyday was with enormous, spectacularly unsexy black-and-white projections of Neil Kinnock and Arthur Scargill.

They played Human as well (to conspicuous indifference from the crowd - please take note). But overall this was a nostalgic treat, helped along by the support act, OneTwo, aka OMD's Paul Humphreys and Propaganda's Claudia Brücken, whose set included 1980s songs by both and a well-judged tribute to the late Billy MacKenzie.