New book explores Sheffield club The Limit’s iconic past where U2, B-52s Human League and Def Leopard all played

Despite being shut nearly thirty years The Limit is now regularly hailed as one of Sheffield’s most legendary venues.

Tuesday, 13th October 2020, 12:30 pm
Human League’s Susan Ann Sulley and Joanne Catherall in the Limit – pic by Alison Drummond
Human League’s Susan Ann Sulley and Joanne Catherall in the Limit – pic by Alison Drummond

Whilst changing tastes and recession saw the Fiesta cabaret club – then the biggest nightclub in all of Europe – close, The Limit dispensed with dress codes and became the first Sheffield venue to embrace the punk movement when it opened in 1978.

Neil Anderson’s 10th anniversary edition of ‘Take It To The Limit’ lifts the lid on the legendary club like never before.

Author Neil said: “The Limit was pivotal to Sheffield’s electro revolution of the early ‘80s and helped nurture bands that have dominated the scene ever since. The venue helped break bands that went on to national and international dominance – everyone from U2 to the B-52s played landmark shows.”

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Flyer from collection of Nigel Lockwood.

Its early months it became a cutting-edge live music venue. Siouxsie and the Banshees played the opening week; the B-52’s made their UK debut; everyone from the Specials to the Undertones performed seminal shows and U2 played one of their earliest gigs to 13 people.

But Neil explains The Limit’s influence was probably strongest felt by the local acts it helped nurture and the electro-scene that eventually exploded out of the city in the early 1980s.

He said: “Human League, Cabaret Voltaire, Clock DVA, Vice Versa (later to become ABC), Comsat Angels and Artery and others all played seminal shows at the venue.

“The Limit was also the setting for the one and only time the Human League were supported by a rookie local rock act Def Leppard.”

The one and only time Def Leppard supported the Human League was at the Limit

Within a couple of years of opening the Limit was turning its focus to club nights; it went on to become a regional goth-epicentre and was pioneering the rave scene when it shut for the last time in 1991.

“The Limit survived and thrived through times of major political and social unrest that proved to be the undoing of many venues,” said Neil.

“It saw off the Winter of Discontent in 1978-1979; the Miners’ Strike of 1984 and the recession of the 1980s.”

His ‘Take It To The Limit’ book is full of photos, memories and includes interviews with Human League frontman Phil Oakey and Rick Savage of Def Leppard.

The signed collector's edition of 'Take It To The Limit' is available for pre-order here.

Want more Sheffield retro? Marking 50 years since Fiesta nightclub