ART ROCK Wire Ouee'r's Ha}, Ecel‘iurgn, Fri 8 Dec.
Once upon a time, or so we're told, there was Punk. And Punk begat many things, some good, some bad, and some bloody awful. Some bought in to the music biz they professed to rebel against, became pop star pin-ups, and wore second- hand sneers, just to prove they meant it. Others became musical explorers, pop boffins who knew their art history enough to understand the value of confounding expectations. Their noises were oblique strategies that
left them misunderstood, and without hope of commercial careers.
Almost a quarter of a century on, Howard Devoto is being hailed as a genius, Andy Weatherall is re- mixing A Certain Ratio, and Wire are selling out London's posher- than-thou Royal Festival Hall. Of course, Wire have never really been away, ever since their trio of late- 70s albums — including the sublime 154 — marked them out as art-school oddballs. The various solo ventures that followed mined increasingly eclectic veins of dub ambient electronica, before another re-union added industrial muscle to their sound.
Of course, none of this mattered to the horde of bemused-looking indie kids awaiting Mogwai at this year's All Tomorrows Parties festival, wondering who the four old blokes onstage were, and how they made such a blistering hundred miles an hour racket out of such a basic guitar/bass/drums unit.
’We were very, very nervous,’ admits guitarist Colin Newman. ’We hadn't had a soundcheck and were suddenly thrust out there, knowing roughly what we were going to sound like. But it was like getting back to the original spirit of what a festival should be, rather than it being an adjunct to a mobile phone company.’
An old-fashioned attitude this may be in such corporate-heavy times, but it’s one that keeps Wire consistently fresh. Not for them a greatest hits by numbers routine to keep them happy. Rather, old
Live and very, bloody direct
*"' ’"rr .
‘Re-hashing old stuff might have killed us'
material is dismantled, deconstructed and re- appropriated to sound, well, completely different, as one can hear on the recording of their RFH soundcheck released on-line.
'I don’t think re-hashing old stuff in a greatest hits way was ever considered when we first talked about re- forming,’ Newman reveals. ’And it actually might have killed some members of the band.’
Wire’s present standing could be put down to the slew of Camden chancers who blatantly ripped them off before flogging it second-hand to the kids. Newman isn't bitter about the experience, despite a contrived music paper spat to the contrary. Indeed, Elastica were all set to support them at RFH. But, according to Newman, ’they bottled it'.
Wire are gradually incorporating fresh material into their new live set, which has come a long way from All Tomorrows Parties. ’We’ve always thought long-term in Wire and I get the feeling that this time we’ll be around for quite a while.’ (Neil Cooper)
hobby-Cum-career, flogging all the boards, trucks and pads he was given to endorse, money which he then spent damaging his lungs to the extent that he now needs medication rust to keep those congested organs drawrng in oxygen
Despite the gall that rises at his memories of Florida, Mr Chaos actually sounds more like Casey Collected as he chats politely from that den of rock 'n' roll vrce known as Austria Although he plays down the reputation he has already developed for taking his explosive performances to the pomt of self-mutilation — 'I got carried away a couple of times and the press blew the whole thing out of proportion' ~ Amen still blow away Trail Of Dead, At The Drive-In and Queens Of The Stone Age when it comes to being live and very,
Cathouse, Glasgow, Sun 10 Dec. 'Florida That's where my problems started ' Not the words of nerv0us Presidential hooefuls, but those of a different kind of contender Mr Casey Chaos, frontman of upstart punk- rockers Amen, is r'eririniscrng abOut his
48 THE LIST 3C, ‘102— 3.1 Dec 2003
childhood home 'Bunch of fucking hicks, man,’ Chaos says of the folks in the state he moved to aged seven ‘I had a New York accent and for that they made my life hell ’
Typically, the man chose a QLrick r0ute out, starting at the tender age of ten when he earned a tidy wage from skateboarding Although officially an amateur, he made a packet from his
Amen are The Dead Kennedys passed through a filter of Jello Biafra's innovative post-punk successors Yet while Biafra tiraded against the injustice of the world, Casey turns it into a Visceral, personal drama Recent events in Florida may be 'a total fucking Circus’ but Amen are the rauc0us ringleaders (Tim Abrahams)
Arches, Glasgow, Thu 7 Dec.
Its pretty much Just "we up there a b\ my tonesome,' says a graxellv \o'ce down the phone line if'OTT‘. Nashtille, Tennessee This is Kurt \“.'ac‘.'te', singer, sOr‘iQx'erter‘, ‘Out‘ider or Lamtxhop, the musical collectite that's been tiestribetl as 'Nashtilles most tucked-up country band', talking about his solo tour of the UK COllQCll‘vL‘ is an accurate descriptiOn of Lambthop, their last album, Nixon, featured the fourteen regular musicians plus four guests So why is \“v'agner taking to tne ‘>tage all by his lonesorrte‘
’lt’s hard when we to out as a band to get around a lot of the places,’ says Wagner With a voice that sounds more like Tom Waits (but somewhat sgueakyl than the falsetto we heard on Nixon ‘We usually end up rust gomg to London, I thought it'd be kinda nice at the end of the year to go to places like Glasgow '
SO, he'll be playing new material then7 'Oh definitely It's land of what I've been dorng lately, writing new songs for a new record ' Titles please 'Well, there's one called "Urinary Tract Infection" ’ This causes an explosion of giggles ’I guess you could (all it "Like A Kidney Stone" ' More giggling iWagner laughs a lotl ’What else we got7 “Autumn Comes A Vicar", "A New Cobweb Summer " The Old Matchbook Trick", y'know, when you got a table wobbling and you wanna make it gLiit rnovrng arOund')’ llTSl time they've been heard live, anywhere7 ’Definrtely, that's the idea '
Wagner has questioned whether Lambchop can continue to ‘blow wads Of money on grand r'ec'cirding adventures, they retain creative control by putting up the bucks and presenting their record company With the finished disc. Will the solo material be transformed into the kind of grandiose SOUTTd that’s prevrously taken in country, R&B and soul on the next album? 'Oh, hopefully,’ laughs Wagner. ’We’ve opened up a can of worms With regard to recording quality, and we wanna try and better that ' (Miles Fielder)
This man has opened up a can of ’quality' worms