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Wire, NYC South Street Seaport, May 30

The setting was somewhat odd: some 3,000+ persons at a free concert right on New York City's South Street Seaport.  Surely a bulk of those there had never actually heard of Wire, but there were at least more than a few of us who drove quite a distance for the free, one-off show to promote the band's upcoming Object 47 album.  Unsurprisingly, the show just proved that even with the continuation their 30+ year career, Wire remain more relevant and captivating than most of the musicians out making records today.

 

The show marked the first in the States with guitarist Margaret Fiedler McGinnis (Laika/Moonshake) who definitely held her own replacing Bruce Gilbert.  It was a different visual aesthetic than the lanky Gilbert calmly standing by his amplifier, but her energetic performance was excellent at, and I for one would be interested to see how she'd be as an actual "full" member of the band.  

Just shy of the 30th anniversary of their first US show, Wire did a run through of pretty much their entire body of work.  Four tracks from the upcoming Object 47 were featured, including the "single" "One of Us" that's been up on the band's website for a few weeks now.  Live it came across as a bit less pop and more aggressive, with the added bonus of a dual chorus from Lewis and Newman.  The other tracks, "All Fours," "Mekon Headman," and "Perspex Icon" had a similar, more pop oriented bent that "One of Us" has, though knowing Wire it could be even more radically different on the actual album.  Other 21st century era material got a strong run through as well, recent tracks like "Our Time" and especially "I Don't Understand" received especially vitriolic treatments.

It was nice to hear that even some of the occasionally (unfairly) maligned '80s material was performed here: "Advantage in Height" and "Boiling Boy" received nicely revised performances that felt more contemporary and updated, but still faithful to the original.  If nothing else, it was a testament to the timelessness of the band's work.

The crowd was decidedly mixed between those older folks who cheered loudly at the opening notes of "Boiling Boy" and joined along with Graham Lewis' infectious chorus to "Being Sucked In Again."  Others were younger kids who were obviously just there for the spectacle, and unfortunately could have been watching some awful hack band and not have known the difference.  

Of course there was a lot of the original Pink Flag represented, "106 Beats That," "Lowdown," and "12XU" sounded just as fresh and unique as they did some 31 years ago, and the second encore of "Pink Flag" ended with a ferocity bands half of their age wish they could muster on their best nights.  

Even though an unfortunate proportion of those in attendance were probably just there since it was free, or were obnoxious hipsters who downloaded "12XU" and thought they knew everything and were there to add to their indie cred, those who were more familiar were surely satisfied as I was, and that if it is just a precursor for a full fledged tour in October, it should be a must-see.  Unfortunately for Brainwashed leader Jon Whitney, they didn't play "Drill," and I didn't get to hear an updated rendition of "Crazy About Love," but I think we were both satiated.

 

The Eye: Video of the Day

Mutek 2003

YouTube Video


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Review of the Day

Back To Nature - Frank Tovey Reshaped
Cologne, 9/26/01 Whatever motivated him to reappear this spring under his original moniker, it's definitively more than the upcoming best of collection as he's back full-heartily not compromising in any means, even in front of 16,000 people longing for Depeche soulful Mode. Starting off with the sinister "State Of The Nation" he leaves few doubts that he's not smoothened out over the years. "Ricky's Hand" follows and the solid upbeat gets more people moving, stripped down to pants and boots he continues with "Collapsing New People," his semi mega hit which paved the way for the success of "People Are People" and then "Luxury," his most accessible single which earns the least response. All the time he jumps across the stage like a tortured artist in a cage, attracting all of the attention of an mainly astonished public, before he surprises everyone with a heavy technobeat version of "Chasing The Blues Away" and goes stage diving while singing. Then he continues kicking ass with gorgeous versions of "Love Parasite," "Fireside Favourite" and as final, "hands in the air - show me you are there" track, the very suitable "Coitus Interruptus." Just 40 minutes something and a relatively poor mix compared to the following act but I'm drowned in sweat and euphoria. The way he uses his body and voice to illustrate the songs is just amazing, today's music needs more performers like him.
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