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Wire (recycled content!) January 23, 2009

Posted by sjroby in Music.
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Object 47

Wire: Object 47

From the LJ, shortly after seeing Wire in October, 2008:

Back in the spring of 1980 I heard a record playing in a record store and really liked it but didn’t have the money to buy a copy. Instead, I remembered the name of the band and album and when I got home I wrote them in a notebook. Months later I bought a copy, and 154 by Wire is still one of my all-time favourite albums. It was their third (and, for a few years, their last) studio album, what at the time seemed to be the peak of a short career that saw them develop from short, fasty, spiky, catchy punk tunes to much more experimental sounds. The band members started a wild variety of solo careers and have reformed Wire every so often for a few more albums, no album ever sounding like the previous one. Their newest album, Object 47, is so named because it’s the 47th release in their discography, but there are dozens more from various band members under their own names and side projects. And I own a lot of them.

And last night, for the first time, I saw Wire live. Not quite the original lineup — one member has been replaced — but the substitute guitarist has a pretty good track record of her own, as a member of the band Laika, among other things. The 21st century Wire has been stripped down to drums, bass, guitars, and not much more, after many years of electronic experimentation. They’re doing a very precise and fast form of punk much of the time, but with a lot more intelligence than the kids less than half their age bring to that sound these days. And a lot of energy, considering the three original members are well into their 50s. It was a great show, with a strong mix of new material and old songs from half a dozen classic albums overhauled to fit in the new sound. Contrary to Laura’s expectations, the audience wasn’t just a lot of 40-somethings looking for some class of 77 punk nostalgia; there were plenty of people in their 20s and 30s there, who may have heard of Wire as an influence on many of the new postpunk revivalist bands, or who know them as the band covered both by REM and Minor Threat. Everyone seemed to be having a great time, and (despite blowing the beginning of one song) I think the band was having a good time as well. And they played “The 15th,” one of my favourites of theirs, and the song that inspired the URL and name of this blog.

So that’s one more all-time fave band that I’ve seen live now (I’ve seen David Bowie, the Smiths, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Cocteau Twins….) Maybe Killing Joke can do a North American tour.

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