Sheffield’s Post Punk Pioneers 2.3 Reform and Return at DINA for Tramlines

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2.3, stable mates of Human League and Heaven 17, return to the stage at DINA this Saturday as part of the venue’s Tramlines offering.

Formed back in April 1977 at the legendary Gunrubber fanzine workshop on Devonshire Lane 2.3 shared rehearsal space and plans for world domination with some of the city’s greatest music pioneers.

2.3 have a unique place in the city’s music history – they were the first Sheffield new wave band to release a single and signed , ‘All Time Low/Where to Now?’ released in February 1978 on the influential Fast Product indie label and was made Tony Parsons NME Single of the Week.

They were praised by him for their hard hitting melodic but political witty songs reflecting on urban life in the late 1970s.

This homecoming performance at Tramlines will mark their first appearance in the city since they split and 2.3 are keen to bring it back to where it all started .The reason behind the reform is driven by the feeling in 2.3 that there are fresh challenges , musically and socially they want to respond to.

Bassist Paul Sharpe illustrates that the passions that got them started haven’t abated: ‘‘It’s great to be back home where it started. We will be playing many of the old songs but we will also be doing lot of new material.”

“There is still a lot still to be angry about and we have lost none of our passion and energy. People will hear this on new tracks like ‘The 95’ about the manipulation around Orgreave and the Hillsborough tragedy and ‘Turn Out the Lights’ about the demise of NHS.”

2.3 are currently back in the studio with Human League and Heaven 17 founder Martyn Ware at the controls whose production credits for British Electric Foundation, Tina Turner Terence Trent D’Arby and 2.3 will release an EP on Native Records in Autumn 2017.

Martyn said: “2.3 started the Sheffield music scene. They were the pioneers and innovators, they even helped get the Human League our first record deal! It is good to have them back.”

Paul Bower [guitar/backing vocals] takes up the story:  “I have known Martyn since I was 17. We worked together at the S&E Co-op when we had both just left school. I used to visit him at his mum and dad’s flat on the Broomhall estate where he would play me new albums by Brian Eno, Iggy Pop and Ian Hunter. It’s a pleasure to be working with a friend who has such an amazing track record and who has opened a lot of people’s ears to new ideas.”

There is one note of sadness in the Tramlines re-union. 2.3’s original drummer Haydn Boyes-Weston, who also played on the first two Cabaret Voltaire albums, died in 2014.

Paul paid tribute: “He was a remarkably talented and generous musician and we miss him. The only way we could think of honouring Haydn’s memory was to write him a song. It’s called ‘Excellent’ because it was his favourite word, and he was just that. A really excellent person. We will be playing the song as part of our Tramlines set and it will be on the EP. ’

2.3 will be playing at DINA as a 3 piece with Peter Infanti (previously of Sheffield jazz combo Bass Tone Trap) taking up the drum duties for the night, stage time is 6pm and entry is free.

Deborah Egan

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