Bear in Heaven - This is my first viewing and listening of this Brooklyn trio, who have been around about ten years. And after one song, I was thinking that they might be a bit too preciously arty with their gutsy dance music. But after a few more songs, I was reminded of why I often quickly reverse myself of my first impressions. They quickly thickened the rhythm section sound and the vocalist songwriter laid down some powerhouse keyboard noise that he somehow stayed atop of. The bass player went to guitar for more sonic fun and they also went rock power trio with some keyboard parts worked into the background. They had the songs, but the post punk rock groove was developed with a deep psychedelic feeling imbued therein. So it was far from dance music, although that did not some from dancing as you could easily get into this rhythm if you let yourself go. They really proved to be a great fit with Wire by the end of their excellent 45 minute set. This band could have played it safe, but they went for it and nailed it.
Wire - There was a good sized crowd tonight for a band that has long been important to DC and lovers of deep, creative music world wide. They are as interesting as ever in recent years with fine new records and solid live sets that cover their history with a leaning to the newer material. Even the older material sounds unique and more a part of this older and wiser Wire. They opened with "Marooned" which was as dreamy and evocative as ever. After that, volumes and pace varied with the incongruous hooks worked in to more classic rock moves. The equations are not overly complex, just worked with different mathematical reference points (or rather map references). Before I talk myself into a corner, let us just say that this 90 minutes had all that these serious Wire fans wanted (aside from a few requests they have forgotten how to play). They did two encore combinations and banged out the usual "Pink Flag" which is more of a ferocious anti-march than ever, before they created a noisy improv to finish the night. New guitarist Matthew Simms is fully settled in and did a masterful job of working his pedals into creating some unique guitar sounds and contrasts for Colin Newman's guitar, even if Simms looked like he got on the wrong bus when they parked next to Iron Maiden. These guys look and sound fit as ever, and again as virtually everyone is saying, it is amazing that they have come out with a couple of great records that fit in with their early masterworks. So the 'It's Beginning To and Back Again' concept is still a path they should continue to follow. They firmly occupy a place among the elite bands for me and I am thrilled I can be reminded of that on the Black Cat stage every few years.
Quote of the Night (actually some 36 years ago)... from Robert Christgau's initial review of Wire's "Pink Flag" LP... "The simultaneous rawness and detachment of this debut LP returns rock and roll irony to the (native) land of Mick Jagger, where it belongs."