Unfortunately late, I stumbled onto what at first sight looked and sounded like an avant-garde nightmare: a drummer randomly tapping around her kit as her partner roamed equally listlessly from bass guitar to keyboard to computer.

But then, catching Tom Relleen's eye, Valentina Magaletti counted him in and she launched into a powerful, compelling rhythm around which he began to drape shifting sonic textures from his battery of instruments. Suddenly it made sense, a music that potentially could be over-cerebral given physical weight and a beating heart. Having only caught the last part of Tomaga’s set I don’t know if it was all as good as this, but it did make me wish I’d heard more. And having recently lamented the current dearth of exciting, inventive drummers, Magaletti’s playing, at once dexterous and gutsy, was a joy.

Without ceremony on this, the second night of five in their Drill Festival, Wire kicked off with the energetic ‘Blogging’ and ‘Joust and Jostle’ from the eponymous current album. Bespectacled singer/guitarist Colin Newman bears a certain physical resemblance to quirky social commentator Jon Ronson; his understated style and the band’s general oblique approach to convention function like a musical parallel to Ronson’s attitude, such as
as the slightly mocking take of Web culture on 'Blogging'.

‘Drill’ itself, pneumatically driven by Robert Grey’s hi-hat and bass-drum and the guitars of Newman and Matthew Simms, was strong stuff. But with ‘Mekon Headman’ Wire concocted a musical brew more intoxicating than anything available in a glass, deliciously blending a hypnotic riff and Graham Lewis’ resolute vocal. From this point on, the assurance that was there from the start in their performance was infused with an extra edge of passion and spontaneity.

Much of this came from Simms, with him ducking down out of sight on several occasions with his guitar, the better to coax feedback howls and moans. Nowhere was this more apparent than on the new album’s ‘Sleep-Walking’: an effective dirge on record, live his playing made clearer its underlying anguish. This shouldn’t however overshadow his bandmates - just as he gives the songs an added dimension of richness and feeling, so their own economical playing gives him the space to do this.

Building through the frenetic ‘Split Your Ends” and ‘Octopus’, the set climaxed with ‘Harpooned’, a beast of fantastic inexorable power, a whale rather than an elephant in the room.

Never ones to look back (and steadfastly ignoring one spectator’s pleas for ‘Kidney Bingos’), nonetheless Wire encored with the late 70's vintage numbers ‘Brazil’, ‘Underwater Experiences’ and ‘Used To’. These punkish roots still show at times in some of their current songs - they have grown from them rather than beyond them - but after all this time they’re a band fully confident in their own skin, indoor miners digging their seam.


Wire Set-List;

Blogging (Wire)
Joust & Jostle (Wire)
Adore Your Island (Change Becomes Us 2013)
Drill (A Bell is a Cup 88)
Mekon Headman (Object 47 2008)
Burning Bridges (Wire)
High (Wire)
In Manchester (Wire)
Sleep-walking (Wire)
Shifting (Wire)
Swallow Wire)
Stealth of A Stork (Change Becomes Us 2013)
Split Your Ends (Wire)
Octopus (Wire)
Blessed State (154 79)
Harpooned (Wire)

Encore:

Brazil (Pink Flag 77)
Underwater Experiences (Behind the Curtain 1977-80)
Used To (Chairs Missing 78)












Related Links:

http://www.pinkflag.com/
https://plus.google.com/114864217505937030910/about
https://soundcloud.com/wirehq
https://twitter.com/WireHQ
https://www.facebook.com/WIRE.pinkflag
https://www.youtube.com/user/wirehq


Commenting On: Lexington, London, 15/4/2015 - Wire








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