Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Wire at The Lexington 17 April 2015


Wire

This is not the first time that I’ve seen Wire. This is not even the first time that I’ve seen Wire at the Lexington. If I had been so minded I could have caught them here five times this week. The Wire/Lexington interface is well established.

Wire have an eponymous album out and are playing a week’s worth of gigs here to promote it. They have a different support act each evening. Tonight we are treated to the deliberately retro space rock stylings of Orlando.

The figures on stage are loosely swathed in silver tunics and what appear to be cloaks made from bubble-wrap. This is a DIY ‘Blake’s 7’ version of the future, a 70’s sounding pop/prog space ritual.

I like what the band do, although they have rather painted themselves into a corner music and image-wise.


Tonight Wire arrive onstage and say that the set will be divided into two halves.
The first part is a charge through the new album in its entirety. It is the first time that I have heard many of these tunes and it doesn’t detract from the Wire experience one jot.

The band are in ferocious form tonight. They are very loud and metallic and rather grind my poor ears to mush beneath their onslaught.

All vocal duties are taken by Colin Newman, his voice an adenoidal semi-speaking snarl. Graham Lewis stands stage left, a craggy yet serene presence whomping out huge bass lines. Drummer Robert Grey thumps along behind them, his eyes closed and lost in music for much of the time. ‘New Boy’ Matt Sims makes up the quartet, conceding stage space to the others, but very much present in the angular guitar sound.

The new songs speed along very agreeable. ‘In Manchester’ has a catchy pop chorus, and things build up until we get to the end of this part of the proceedings with a monolithic version of ‘Harpooned’, effectively an eight and a half minute slow motion explosion of noise.

For the second half of their set, Wire are joined by Margaret Fiedler, who often played with the band live before Sims joined on a permanent basis. I would say that the sound gets even louder, but my by now largely destroyed lugholes tell me this is not possible.

The songs now played span the band’s whole illustrious career. The stand out, as so often, is the oft-mutated track ‘Drill’. Tonight’s reading is a back to basics no frills version which nonetheless rocks you back on your heels.

Wire say that they always go forward, never backwards. I’m very happy to continue to march along with them.

1 comment:

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