Observations: A sporting chance for Devo

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The Independent Culture

Ski Sunday's stirring theme-tune apart, winter sports and credible music have rarely gone together. Snowboarders seem to exist on an aural diet of skate punk and pumping dance anthems. All this is set to change, though, with the musical diet of the 2010 Winter Olympics that open in Vancouver, Canada, tonight.

For the daily medal ceremonies, Olympic organisers have compiled an eclectic mix of acts, a different one each evening. Rising techno star Deadmau5 may be familiar to the après-ski circuit, as might the chugging rock of Aussie outfit Jet. More esoteric choices also feature, though, among them local stars Feist, the solo artist behind the charming hit "1234", and beguiling indie outfit Stars. Also on the bill are R&B vocalist Estelle, and hip-hop's finest live exponents, The Roots. Most intriguing is the return of cult new-wave veterans Devo, a choice that has caused merriment among sports hacks ignorant of eccentric, intelligent pop delivered by men in cone-shaped hats.

Devo themselves have so far refused to comment on this rare appearance, but the Ohio band's only connection with snow- and ice-bound activities seems to be that singer Mark Mothersbaugh's bottle-glass spectacles are thicker than Eddie the Eagle's. Moreover, their name stands for de-evolution and the band's infamous number "Jocko Homo" further undermines any Olympic ideal of sports-people striving to progress and set an example. As Mothersbaugh sings, "God made man, but monkey supplied the glue".

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