Vampire State Human … League
“The Human League is still the future”
Phil Oakey paces across tonight’s cage like a boosted Duracell panther. Six hundred sentimental Hamburg Zoo-goers scan him dewey eyed and thereby foster a jingle-jangle youth long lost like Deutschmark and Pfenninge. Solely sharing every morning’s head shave with the males of the species down in the trenches, he gracious- and cunningly glints at 10.000 wide-eyed, cheeky teenage faces, peckish for POP! – the kind that even Lady Gaga (a professing THL fan) cannot furnish them.
Susan Ann Sulley, totally Twiggy’s deadly daughter, draws out her thin little arms circuiting to the sky, lustily lifting her glam garderobe and obliviously dancing around an imaginary handbag filled with the obligatory lady kit of make up, business cards of global high and low street boutiques and a warm hand gun. To the female exponents in the compound she forever represents the unobtainable It-Girl ideal, an evergreen proto-feminist pop madonna with the certain Emm-A-Peel.
Tonight her schoolfriend Joanne Catherall is setting her steps somewhat onerous- and gazing past the pack almost absently. Caught in another hour of the day she may be pondering questions of band book-keeping, a promising chlorophyl diet or the latest Gerhard Richter exhibition. Thoughts that in the next 90 minutes will be of no major concern to the giggling girls at her feet who have appeared in the same grouplets that had been splitting the smarter objects of desire on the schoolyard among them.
The chamber in which this spectacle is acted out is made up like a walk-in Macbook scaled 100:1. All synthesizers, keytars and e-drums, microphones and the carpeting … tutto completto bianco. TRON: The League-acy. All three fix-freelancing operators dressed in black attire behind their consoles. In front and between them Oakey performs alternating as the Matrix monch and the Armani agent. On the backside wall casual screensavers interchange with seasoned screenshot THL meta motives from film-, photo-blog- and TV sources. Phil Oakey confesses: „I’d love Madonna’s budget at our disposal. Without it’s just a big bluff.“
Their repertoire consists of 100% proven („Don’t You Want Me“ and „Human“) and alleged world hits from „Empire State Human“ via „Love Action“ and „Mirror Man“ to „Tell Me When“ – with three songs from the new bundle „Credo“, their most constant 45minutes since „Dare“, on top. All of them nightlife national anthems, each one bigger than the memories/expectations tied to them, and everyone existing in the here and now, whichever context of time and space they originate from. As Martyn Ware, founder of THL and B.E.F./Heaven 17-splitter knows: „The great bonus of today’s music consumption is the simultaneity and decontextualisation of any contribution by way of iPod reception.“
Phil Oakey registers and loves a good, unnerving synth hookline, if he hears one. He enjoys Sydney Sampson‘s „Riverside“, Kei$ha and Jamie Woon. Their brill single „Sky“ and the nontheless monumental „Into The Night“ with its glimpses of Prince beats and the Beach Boys’ harmonic turns re-establish valid THL standards of wise, compassionate but un-pathetic pre-techno torch songs like „Louise“ and „Life On Your Own“. While the blatant 80s epigones Hurts, LaRoux, Little Boots or Mirrors sell tickets to their Back to the future-ride, the lucifugous League ongoingly plunges headlong into the flickering strobelight of an ideal nightclub and emerges in love.
„Darling bohemians, witless chameleons, too chic to dare to disagree. Empty rebellions from charming hellions. Delicious fate no guarantee.“ (Into The Night)
So beware, beloved night people, club Credo is not the place where the pure pose or a simple appearance will lead to automatic emancipation. Indeed it is no less than a portal for alltogether un-catholic redemption („A boy for you – a girl form me. A beautiful philosophy“), and in no way the hollow flatland the eternal blockheaded adversary – the Rock inquisition – will clamour as its key reproach when Pop, Disco and their common cuttings are condemned according to the book of Bob (Dylan).
Allegedly an easy touch: our three candidates, boldly deferring a premature pension, creating contraband now! sounds … in other words: the band that wouldn’t go away. Life could be so simple for the Human League, but Sulley, Catherall and Oakey forever resist the straddle legged pathos in stubborn grandeur. Forever leading the prayers in the church of artificial light. At the same time its most passionate pilgrims. Hence the tunes on Credo display once more the universally accepted, class- and timeless promise of a joyous journey to the end of the night:
„It’s been a lovely day, don’t throw the night away. That’s when the stars start to shine.“
P.S. Dig out the two latest golden tickets into the night: