Friday, April 8, 2011

Wire - Weekend -- Black Cat - Apr 7 2011

Weekend - Pretty small turnout at the 8:47 start time, but the crowd grew steadily throughout this band's 45 minute set. And the band? They are a trio from San Francisco with a bit of buzz about them. They actually sound quite a bit like Wire in their first song with their Brit-pop feel and multiple sharp-edges. They actually have a lot of Ride in their sound as well, and this becomes more pronounced than the Wire sound as the set continues. The shoegaze element is more in the vocals than the music, although just as I make a note to that effect, the guitarist explodes with a loud wash of sound. At times, the drumming and bass lines were a bit too steady. Fans may say that would be hypnotic, but it made my mind wander a bit more than I like. But they found ways to bring me back in when they snapped off a song that was a bit more catchy or varied the volume and pace a bit. The closer was a real blast and the filling club was treated to what this band is capable of. I am not fully convinced, but it is early in their career and there are some really nice things to work with here. As for an opener to a Wire show? Certainly, this was a fine choice and I enjoyed it as such.

Wire - I last saw this band right as I began this blog about 2 1/2 years ago. I had seen in 1987, but this show was better. So I was excited about seeing this band, whose first three albums are among my all-time favorites. They are again composed of three original members with the retired BC Gilbert being replaced by a different guitarist this time, Matt Simms. They come out to some throbbing music reminding me of side project Dome. But they immediately cut into a jagged edge rocker that showcased some of their signatures: Quick, agile drumming; rocking guitars with drone touches; Sneaky vocal lines that are melodic yet distant; and an overall sense of command and control. They varied their songs quite a bit thereafter with an emphasis on their fine new album, "Red Barked Tree". They played their song about the midwest as they called it, "Map Reference 41°N 93°W" and unlike the other older songs they played, this one sounded like the original. "Two People in a Room" was even more smoking than the original, which was plenty fast, but this version had an amazing menace to it. And was it "40 Beats That" that they played from Pink Flag? I have to admit I am pretty terrible at coming up with titles and trying to match songs I hear with the 70-100,000 floating around in my personal database known as my brain. They played for an hour to their adoring fans and did five more songs in two encores for another 25 minutes or so. The finish was a really twisted and wonderfully gnarled version of "Pink Flag" that is a really fun alternative to the original. I was thinking about half way through this set that Wire is good live, but more important on record. By the set's end, that distinction became much more narrow. I hope the band continues to record and play out more frequently, as it is still a powerful show.

More blogs: I had been a reader of Les Enfants Terribles, but the writers are moving to different sites and now I follow the musical rantings of Megan at Fuzzy Logic. She was at this show and the last one I was at, and one of these days we may actually meet. But I do recommend the blog.


Earthdog70 said...

Great show, I can't believe I have never seen Wire before. I enjoyed Weekend as well.

David Hintz said...

Everyone should see important bands like Wire at least once in their life. Wish I could have caught one of the 154 (the amount of gigs up to that album), but they still offer most of the special qualities they have provided us all on their classic records.

Chris said...

Having never heard Wire before other than when their latest album was streaming on NPR a few months ago (around when I bought my ticket), I went in with few expectations. Needless to say, I loved the show, pretty much for the stylistic reasons you describe. I couldn't understand a word; perhaps it's the Black Cat sound, or perhaps it's standing 6-8 feet from the stage, or perhaps it's Wire. Anyway, it was a dynamite show from one of many bands that I wish I had heard of 30 years ago.

I have found for a long time that good outlets to hear new music that is not mainstream pop garbage are hard to come by, and I pretty much stopped listening in about 1990. I got a set list, so I figure I'll hit Grooveshark and see if I can replay the songs online in the same order. I certainly hope to get another chance to see this band again.

David Hintz said...

Excellent. Glad they are getting a new audience. Depending on your own tastes, I would strongly recommend checking out the first three albums in total. The first is thoughtful pop-punk, the third is swirling melodic post punk with darkness prominent, while the second one is the most eclectic as it transitions the sounds. The middle period Wire does vary a bit, but they really seem to be back in form in recent years. Have fun and spread the word.