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Killing Joke - Barrymore's, Ottawa, 6/10/2008

  by Andrew Carver

published: 28 / 10 / 2008

Killing Joke - Barrymore's, Ottawa, 6/10/2008


Andrew Carver watches veteran punk rockers Wire on a rare outing to Canada theee decades after first forming play an enthralling set of bristly art pop at Barrymore's in Ottawa

Wire are one the original crop of 1977 punk rockers which seem to have never packed it in. Although the band have gone on hiatus on occasion, like the Damned, DOA and the Buzzcocks, they don’t seem able to resist returning to studio and stage, and have managed to produce a succession of well-received recent albums and EPs. The veteran group’s most recent release is ‘Object 47’, and they charted a tour through North America in support that included a stop at Ottawa’s decaying vaudeville hall, Barrymore’s, to play for a crowd ranging from old punk rockers to relative youngsters who hadn’t even been born during their first burst of creativity. First up were local trio the Suppositories, whose minimalist style fitted in quite well, and no doubt owed a fair bit to Wire’s earliest, most aggressive output. Their set was really excellent, and a fair number of people bought a copy of the band's soon-to-be-officially released album, ‘Moments of Square Violence’, myself included. They appropriately ended their set with a tune called ‘Wired’. As for Wire themselves, they played a dynamite set. The original trio of Graham Lewis, Richard Gotobed and Colin Newman are joined live by well-known Margaret Fiedler-McGinnis, formally of Laika, who replaced recently departee Bruce Gilbert on guitar. Guitarist and vocalist Newman got on stage wearing a blazer and black slacks, looking a bit like a college professor, while bassist Lewis dressed a bit down in a tuque and black T-shirt. Starting off with declaration of intent ‘Our Time’ from ‘Read and Burn 03’, the band quickly segued into ‘Mr. Marx’s Table’ off ‘Send’ and ‘Comet’ from ‘Read and Burn 01’ before taking things further back in time to ‘Being Sucked In Again’ from ‘Chairs Missing’. A healthy helping of tunes from the band’s latest effort, ‘Object 47’, also made an appearance. Even three decades on the band can provide a vigorous show, tearing through one bristly number after another, then stopping on a dime for a few seconds of banter to acknowledge the crowd, then zipping into the next tune. The band has kept up with the times: Newman has equipped himself with a Variax guitar and a laptop on stage (“Excuse me while I check my e-mail”, he jested as he adjusted some settings before one of the encores). But soundwise the band could well have been performing in 1978 instead of 2008. They started at 10:30 and finished up past midnight and even came back for three encores. Even short of a founding member they provided an exciting run through their catalogue, though one persistent request shouter had to go home without hearing ‘I Am The Fly’. Set List : Our Time Mr. Marx's Table Comet Being Sucked in Again Mekon Headman Perspex Icon Advantage in Height The Agfers of Kodack Silk Skin All Fours One Of Us Boiling Boy The 15th 106 Beats That I Don't Understand First Encore : He Knows PF Second Encore : Lowdown Circumspect Third Encore : Underw

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Killing Joke - Barrymore's, Ottawa, 6/10/2008

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