As you can probably guess from the new Human League tour title, remaining member and co-founder Phil Oakey has been at the helm of the Sheffield synth-pop maestros since 1977, thirty-five years ago to be exact. In that time, Oakey has seen line-up changes, internal differences and, in later years, a string of national and international hits that have systematically propelled them beyond even his wildest (electric) dreams.
The late '70s was a testing time to be in an electronic outfit hell-bent on being introspective, littering their live shows with pre-recorded tapes and blurry visuals and slides, not forgetting Oakey's curious lop-sided hairstyle. Sheffield, a harsh city at the best of times, plainly wasn't ready for this technological self-indulgence, hence The Human League and allies Cabaret Voltaire were coveted and courted by the mainly London music press instead.
Until the '80s, that is. After two chilling albums in 'Reproduction' and 'Travelogue', both dark and alienating yet jammed with a few pop trinkets, an album called 'Dare' changed it all. Yes it took a complete overhaul of the band, yes it took the hiring of two female dancers and singers and yes it took the late Martin Rushent's fine visionary production to make it all right, but it worked all the same.
After several hits including 'Love Action', 'Open Your Heart' and 'Don't You Want Me', the spoils were enjoyed and more and more joined the community of ardent fans. And those very same fans will no doubt be salivating at the prospect of this new UK tour.
'XXXV' will commence in November at the Brighton Dome on the 23rd, followed by stops in Cambridge, London (the Royal Albert Hall, no less), Bristol and many more in the south and the north until Hatfield on 10th December. Tickets are on sale Friday from 9am (10am for some dates), priced £25 - £30 (depending on venue).
Scottish fans can see the band at Ayr Racecourse on 20th April, as well as Glasgow of course - tickets for the open-air event cost £27 and are on sale now!