Live Review: Wire at Neumos 5/27/2015

Live Reviews

text and photos by Alan Lawrence

For almost 40 years, art-rockers Wire have been pushing the sonic envelope. Their first three albums (Pink Flag, 154 and Chair Missing) make up one of the best trilogies in modern music. These albums took post-punk to a dimension not fully understood for decades to come. Now touring under their 13th album, which is aptly self-titled, Wire has revisited their past while looking toward the future. Their new music has the pop sensibilities of their best work, but with renewed freshness and subtle harmonic undertones.

Wire brought all this with them when they performed in front of about 400 greying, yet rabid, fans at Neumos on May 27th. The band typically turns up the hardness level of their songs in front of an audience and this show was no different. Gone are original drummer Robert Gotobed and guitarist/vocalist B.C. Gilbert but that, while unfortunate, did not deter Wire from forging ahead. With new guitarist Matthew Simms, they exceeded expectations and hardly missed a beat. While I missed Gilbert’s presence, Simms guitar work added a new layer of subtle harmony and complexity to the already knotty music.They opened with the tune “Blogging”, off the new album, in which Graham Lewis decries everything from Jesus to Amazon. Moving quickly through a 19-song set, they covered virtually the entire new album with a few classics, like “Silk Skin Paws”, slipped between. The show ended with “Harpooned”, a dirge-like meditation that seemed to put the band in a trance as the intensity and volume built to a noise-fest crescendo. They returned to the stage for a rousing encore of three more songs with renewed freshness and vigor.

When you go see Wire, you can’t expect to be entertained by stories or a “show”. What you can expect is an evening of intense, highly creative music that pushes the boundaries at every turn. That’s exactly what we got at Neumos, which is nothing to complain about.

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