The Human League ‘Love Action’ in Lincoln

After 30 years in the business, The Human league are still just as good live as they were in their heyday. It could be argued that it still is their heyday, since the band, fronted by Phil Oakey, are still releasing new material and have a new album, “Night People”, released next year.

This ’80s electronic outfit from Sheffield have a renowned following of fans, although most seem to be middle-aged, having been fans since the threesome emerged in 1980. It would be nice to see more students and teenagers getting involved with the ’80s movement, the vibe is still prevalent today and the League’s new material seems to have a dubsteppy, drum ‘n’ bass feel.

The Human League are still on top of their game after over 30 years. Photo: spiros politis

Oakey, lead singer and founder of the band, looks well and still has his good looks. Appearing on stage with the same energy and charisma he has always had in a modern black mac. It’s clear that the band is able to keep with the times and this makes them an undated classic. It was great to see a true 80’s band, still made up by the original singers.

When the Human League first formed in 1979, it was an all male group, but after a relatively unsuccessful first release, the band changed direction and, with members Susan Ann Sulley and Joanne Catherall, Oakey created the formidable synth-pop group we know and love.

They still have the voice, too, such classics as “Mirror Man” and “Love Action” still have the original feel, which is nice. Some ’80s bands that are still on the go today try to change their old songs, and this can sometimes cause a loss of interest in the more mature fan base. But it was good to hear some of the band’s newer tracks and there was a well thought out mix of sets of old and new songs played.

The band, which returned to Lincoln’s Engine Shed after a two year gap, are fans of the venue and Oakey praised Lincoln as one of the few cities left that still has some originality. The same goes for them, although acts such as La Roux have tried to find the ’80s vibe, in the case of this decade original always seems to sound best.

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