Wire, gig review: 'There is still a dissatisfied itch to bassist Graham Lewis’ words'
Nick Hasted has been a film journalist since 1986. He writes about film, music, books and comics for The Independent, Sight & Sound, Uncut and Little White Lies. He has published two books: The Dark Story of Eminem (2002), and You Really Got Me: The Story of The Kinks (2011), both from Omnibus Press.
Monday 20 January 2014
The ceiling fans struggle to push the air around the sort of rammed pub upper room bands of Wire’s stature rarely visit. But in a 37-year career, including two breaks inevitable for a group its singer and co-songwriter Colin Newman characterises as prone to “psychic warfare”, Wire have fought furiously to avoid rock normality.
“They don’t sound as weird as they used to,” comments a woman who has randomly entered the pub tonight with strong memories of their debut Pink Flag’s strangeness in punk 1977. The loop of their influence means that “Adore Your Island”, from last year’s Change Becomes Us, recalls the Wire-inspired Blur.
But the way Newman’s voice sinks sadly at the end of “As We Go”’s passages of choppy, chiming guitar, like “Swallow”’s feedback-flecked, rainbow-arc finish, remains singular. “Stealth of a Stork"’s stealthy riff triggers sporadic pogoing, while Newman’s tribal wail during the dragging, heavy “Harpooned” gets a more sensual response from some female dancers.
Tagged as post-punk because they quickly shed punk’s constricting chrysalis, Wire are psychedelically expansive too. There is still a querulous, dissatisfied itch to bassist Graham Lewis’s words as Newman sings them. Their business is unfinished.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Jessica Chastain demands Scarlett Johansson-fronted Marvel superhero movie
Downton Abbey series 5 start date revealed: ITV drama to return in late September
Nicki Minaj suffers wardrobe malfunction during MTV VMAs performance with Ariana Grande and Jessie J
How to read Will Self: Unlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
New Netflix releases: Films and TV shows coming in September 2014
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain