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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Wire
Wire On the Box: 1979
Pink Flag Archive Research

Rating: 7.5/10 ?


October 1, 2004

What's more fun than listening to boatloads of live dissonant and arty punk played to a room full of less than enthused German youngsters? Listening to a document of arty punk played to a room full of German discontents 25 years after it happened. Ah, the magic of technology brings this double disc offering (one audio CD, one DVD) of Wire's performance in 1979 on the German TV show Rockpalast.

First, as an older document, this could sound scratchy and lo-fi, but it doesn't. The sound is, for the most part, crisp and solid; occasionally the listener is treated to some reverb and tinny vocals as the volume rises, but otherwise it's enjoyable without incident. The DVD, likewise, has got the kitsch and camera work that you might expect from central Europe in 1979, but it's as good as any concert video from the time period.

As for the music itself, what you have here is the seminal Wire: gritty and tight. In 1979, they were a band on the rise, almost striding into the peak achieved in the early 80's. The set is a jangle of rhythms and bass lines to suit some freak-out body spasms. This call for flailing is not met, as one can see from the mostly staid audience on the DVD. Regardless, Wire plows through 19 songs, barely pausing for introduction, and ends with the mighty "Pink Flag".

Wire's catalog is strewn with the quirky and the weird - they were never an outright accessible unit, but they always had some great songs for the open minded individual. In this set, the best moments are the playful "The 15th", the hyper and unpredictable "Once is Enough" and the comparatively mellow "Heartbeat".

Though in many respects this release is for diehards and the already converted, this live set is also a nice collection of the band's earlier material, and a good introduction to the group - it is easy to see Wire's influence on contemporary indie rock. While it is hard to place a band who overtly and completely cops Wire's sound, when you listen to a jagged guitar riff or propelling bass line, you understand the influence the band had on the sounds of groups like Interpol, Bloc Party, the Dismemberment Plan etc. Throw around tags like "seminal" and "influential" all you want, but for a group like Wire those terms certainly apply.

Reviewed by Dan Williams
A staff writer based in Brooklyn, New York, Dan Williams is a frequent contributor to LAS magazine. He once lived in Köln, Germany for a semester, is currently persuing his MBA in New York, and recently switched sides and began working as a publicist for Special Ops Media in New York.

See other reviews by Dan Williams

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