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154 Pink Chairs — Wire Live in New York

Posted by on May 31, 2008 in Music | 1 comment

I went to see Wire last night, who kicked off the South Street Seaport Music Festival. I wasn’t really so sure if the mix of tourists and Wall Street types would be into the band, currently in their third (fourth?) comeback. But, hey, right in front of me were four guys in their late 50s who looked like they just walked out of a casual Friday at a brokerage. They were smoking pot, chugging beers, passing around a flask of Bacardi and yelling for “Ex-Lion Tamer,” which they never got.

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Die!Die!Die!’s “terrified” singer Andrew Wilson.

Openers Die!Die!Die! of New Zealand were an admirably noisy trio. Singer Andrew Wilson looped his guitar track so he could put his instrument down and prowl around the gated area set aside for photographers and get face to face with the crowd. He did this no fewer than three times during a 35-minute set. Bassist Lachlan Anderson, looking like an emaciated, youthful J.J. Burnel, also joined him in the pit. Wound-up drummer Michael Prain was a bit of a ringer for Paul Dano, circa Little Miss Sunshine. Overall a good set, even though Wilson admitted to the crowd that he was “terrified.” Their sound was like a dusty vinyl copy of Pink Flag played with a dull needle. In other words — Bravo!

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“We Is Wire. . .You Is Welcome.”

Wire took to the stage and singer/guitarist Colin Newman (who now resmbles Ben Linus from Lost) noted to the crowd, “We is Wire. . .you is welcome,” before launching into a song presumably off the new album (due in July). It’s a nod to the hardcore non-conformism that they play to a huge outdoor crowd and open with a song nobody knows and don’t bother to acknowledge the absence of founding member Bruce Gilbert or that touring guitarist Margaret Fielder had taken his place. In fact, no song introductions period. Graham Lewis mock-thanked the crowd for missing a “golden opportunity” to see the Eagles, who were in the midst of playing a multi-night stand at Madison Square Garden. Newman added: “In 1977 the Eagles were one thing — the enemy!” The crowd cheered. Super lanky Robert Gotobed was having some problems, not sure what, but occasionally he got up from his drum kit and waved his hands around. At one point Lewis besought the lighting person to cut down on his predilection for strobe lights: “I’m getting epileptic up here!” Lotsa energy, lotsa rhythm, lotsa songs sung by Lewis. It’s a new prime period for Wire. The only nod to time passing was an Apple MacBook set up on a stand by Newman’s mike, but I couldn’t tell if it was to display lyrics or had something to do with his effects set up.

First encore: “Lowdown”; “1 2 X U.”

Second encore: “Pink Flag” (with Lewis’ dedication, “For all our dead friends. You’ve all got dead friends.”) With the repeated chorus, “How many dead or alive in 1955?” followed with many shouted, “How many?”s observers had to take it as a sly reference to the Iraq War.

Wire has nothing to prove. They are the proof.

One Comment

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  1. Superha

    “We is Wire. . .You Is Welcome” and “All your base are belong to us.”

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