Live: Wire

No talk. No hits. Art rock’s misfit sons celebrate 40 uncompromising years.

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Wire never fit in during punk, they never fit in during new wave or the 80s, and here they are again, in the 21st century still not fitting in.

On stage at this warm-up gig for their forthcoming tour of the earth, they look like no band you’ve ever seen. Graham Lewis in his enormous Gerard Depardieu-sized beret, Colin Newman with inventor hair and matching glasses, touring guitarist Matt Simms, half their age with Neil The Hippie hair. Only drummer Robert Grey (formerly Gotobed) looks the part, all muscles and intensity. This is Wire, the art project who pretended to be a punk band, played Live At The Roxy, invented post-punk and changed everything.

And in 2015, Wire are still an art project. They don’t do their near-hits (although we do get 1986’s Drill and a couple of songs from 1979’s 154). They don’t talk. They do songs from the new albums they’ve put out every couple of years this century, most of which are from brand new album Wire and are excellent. In Manchester, Blogging, Joust & Jostle are all great, but nothing tops the incredible, intense, ten-minute sonic battery of Harpooned.

Bands younger than Wire became bloated, head-dead stadium nothings five years into their careers. Wire are in their 40th year as a band. And – in the words of I Should Have Known Better – they still replace the old with the moon.


David Quantick

David Quantick is an English novelist, comedy writer and critic, who has worked as a journalist and screenwriter. A former staff writer for the music magazine NME, his writing credits have included On the HourBlue JamTV Burp and Veep; for the latter of these he won an Emmy in 2015.