Win Tickets ($70): Heaven 17 @ Crystal Ballroom | English New Wave & Synth-pop

We are giving away a pair of tickets to Heaven 17 @ Crystal Ballroom on October 5. To win, comment below on this post why you’d like to attend. Winner will be drawn and emailed September 26.



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From our sponsors:
Heaven 17
October 5, 2022
6:30 pm doors, 8 pm show | 21+
GA: $30 ADV, $35 Doors
Reserved Balcony: $35 ADV, $40 Doors
More info: crystalballroompdx.com

Crystal Ballroom
1332 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97209

Heaven 17, please remember, were not even intended to be a group. In the beginning was the British Electric Foundation, or B.E.F., for short. Born out of the collapse of the original Human League, and the brainchild of Martyn Ware, that band’s leader, B.E.F. was less a record label, as a portfolio of future musical projects of which Heaven 17 would be just one. Ian Craig Marsh, co-founder of the Human League, would join Ware along with Glenn Gregory as lead vocalist the man who would have been the original Human League singer had he not been unavailable.

B.E.F. would produce the now iconic Music For Stowaways, and Music Of Quality and Distinction 1, and provided a template that subsequent artists would use from The Assembly in the Eighties, Electronic in the Nineties, and most recently, the Damon Alban and Jamie Hewlett project, Gorillaz. But its Heaven 17 which would endure and help shape the future of modern music for over thirty years. Their first album, Penthouse And Pavement, is, and remains, a modern classic.

It felt like a race to get the thing done really. There was no mediation involved. It literally was a lot of ideas coming out simultaneously but also with an intensity which meant that you could realize them very quickly. So it wasn’t just like a million ideas and actually three quarters of them were shit when you looked at them on the day – they were all pretty good I have to say. It was like opening a giant tap for a hose and it was just blasting out. (Martyn Ware)

Within a week, they had written and demoed a new song, ‘(We Don’t Need That) Fascist Groove Thang.’ Listening back to a song written in late 1980, it’s astonishingly prescient. The purely electronic template, the driving musical philosophy of the Human League, had been modified with the addition of funky slap-bass guitar, and treated dance-floor piano. Released as a single, it became NME’s record of the week. The song managed to mention the words ‘fascist’, ‘Hitler’, ‘racist’ and was promptly banned from being played by the BBC. ‘One of the reasons the BBC said it couldn’t be played was they thought Ronald Reagan could sue them over it’, said Ian Craig Marsh in 1981 about the song’s most controversial couplet: ‘Reagan’s president elect/Fascist god in motion.’

Penthouse and Pavement is a musically schizoid slab of modern art. Side 1 fires off in the new, funky direction, whilst Side 2, the all-synth side gives a taste of what a third Human League album with Ware and Marsh on-side might have sounded – wonderful melodies and audacious arrangements with tracks such as ‘Let’s All Make A Bomb’ and ‘Song With No Name’ the very best of British electronica.

A defining feature of Heaven 17 was their total artistic control over their music. Whereas the sound and the success of the Human League’s Dare was very much a collaboration between the band and Martin Rushent, Heaven 17 were performers, writers and designers creating not just their own music but every aspect of the music’s presentation and packaging.

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37 Comments

  1. Joseph on March 29, 2022 at 5:19 am

    Hoping to catch this fascist groove thing….let me go!

  2. Sheiny on March 29, 2022 at 12:43 pm

    How old I am I that I still have a mixed tape with these guys on it?

    • Erin on April 5, 2022 at 8:19 pm

      Oh wow, where do I start? It was 1983, I was 16, and on the dance floor with my best friend Jackie and we asked the DJ to play Temptation and when he did, we went to Heaven with Fiorucci’s angels.

  3. Carol Trekas on March 29, 2022 at 1:08 pm

    I’ve heard these guys are good. Never saw them. But would like to. Count me in. Thank you.

  4. Rick on March 30, 2022 at 7:54 pm

    I missed them in the 80s.

  5. Michael Pendlebury on March 31, 2022 at 2:42 pm

    I’ve loved Heaven 17 since the early 1980’s! This is their first American tour and I would be so excited to see them after all these years of being a fan!

  6. Helki on March 31, 2022 at 2:43 pm

    I’d love to go! My husband used to DJ in the 80’s and 90’s and LOVE these guys. Would be a fun date night

  7. Jacob on April 2, 2022 at 9:26 am

    I would love to go experience a new to me genre of music.

    • Melissa Weinstein on June 21, 2022 at 7:54 pm

      I discovered them in the 80s while listening to a college radio station. I’d love to take my now 20-yr old kid to this show!
      Thanks for the opportunity 🥳

  8. David on April 5, 2022 at 12:33 am

    Bloody well right!

  9. Sascha on April 5, 2022 at 12:37 pm

    I was too young to see them in the 80s!

  10. Jana Rocheleau on April 5, 2022 at 12:38 pm

    I would love to go!!!! please!

  11. Carol L Trekas on April 5, 2022 at 1:13 pm

    I’d love to take my husband to this for our date night. Thanks.

  12. Christie on April 7, 2022 at 10:38 am

    Would love to be sent to heaven with this group! 🙂

  13. Paul on April 12, 2022 at 1:06 pm

    Blast from the 80’s

  14. kick toft on April 12, 2022 at 10:15 pm

    Will be more than ready to enjoy this one when the time comes!

  15. Matthew on April 19, 2022 at 1:08 pm

    Thank you.

  16. Leah W. on April 26, 2022 at 1:48 pm

    I need to crimp my hair and wear some neon for this!

  17. gregb on April 27, 2022 at 9:59 pm

    Sure, I’ll go for free.

  18. Matthew Light on April 30, 2022 at 1:41 pm

    Seeing them would be awesome

  19. Tishka on May 5, 2022 at 10:34 pm

    Squee! That would be an awesome night!

  20. YB on May 10, 2022 at 12:36 pm

    This would be great!

  21. Jessica Braasch on May 10, 2022 at 12:49 pm

    Ready to dance the anxiety away!

  22. Carol Trekas on May 10, 2022 at 2:41 pm

    I want to hear English New Wave please.

  23. Michelle Gendvil on May 11, 2022 at 3:51 pm

    Oh wow, pick me please. 🙋‍♀️

  24. sheri on May 17, 2022 at 12:52 pm

    yep, count me in on this one.

  25. Carol Trekas on May 17, 2022 at 10:17 pm

    Would love to see this.

  26. david m on May 24, 2022 at 12:57 pm

    Very cool!

  27. Johanna on May 26, 2022 at 3:39 pm

    I would love to take my daughter for her Birthday.

  28. shen on May 31, 2022 at 8:15 pm

    Perfect timing for a bday outing!

  29. Al on May 31, 2022 at 8:56 pm

    Faciast groovin!

  30. Carol trekas on June 10, 2022 at 10:24 pm

    Count me in.

  31. Brian on June 14, 2022 at 12:52 pm

    I’ve loved Heaven 17 since I was a teenager. I’d love to see them live!

  32. Carol Trekas on June 15, 2022 at 1:44 am

    British electronica rules.

  33. Albert L Herre on June 15, 2022 at 7:09 am

    17

  34. Polly Zechmann on June 15, 2022 at 3:39 pm

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  35. HpT on June 23, 2022 at 2:47 pm

    I’ll spare you the stories…I just wanna go get drunk and see some new wave jams.

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