It’s something of a JOVM tradition to focus a bit on the past around New Year’s. After all, it only seems natural that with the passing of yet another year, that the past seems to loom just as large as the future. This is certainly the case as you get older.
Towards the end of last year, I had a falling out with a very dear friend, who was a big punk rock fan. And before our falling out, I had introduced her to Gang of Four, a band that I discovered that she was woefully unfamiliar with. But the other band I had meant to introduce her to and never got a chance to was the sadly under-appreciated British punk band Wire. With a similarly angular sound to Gang of Four, Wire had quickly developed a reputation for writing songs that ended whenever they felt the song needed to end. If a song ended in 35 seconds, then so be it.
As you know, YouTube can be a wonderful, wonderful place and quite a time suck. But I came across live footage of Wire on the German TV show Rockpalast back in 1979. And it includes a bit of a testy and tense interview section towards the conclusion of the video.
As far as the set, some of the highlights include an blisteringly explosive and anxious version of “Another The Letter” which seems to sadly confuse and frighten the Rockpalast live audience. “Practice Makes Perfect” pairs a twisting, turning bass line with angular guitar chords in a way that would bring to mind processors of Joy Division and Interpol. “Two People In a Room” may arguably be the most anxious, paranoid song Wire has ever recorded. And they perform a unhinged and fiery version of “Pink Flag.”
Although it was a German show, Rockpalast is a show that everyone should know as they had a variety of musical guests including David Bowie, BB King, Siouxsie and the Banshees, XTC and countless others.