Friday, September 16, 2005

Damaged Goods Redux

Gang of Four @ Hard Rock Cafe 9/15/05
This show was free and part of a night sponsored by Souza tequila, which I must say is the nastiest-tasting tequila I've ever had. It was a kick-off party for URB Next 100 Live. I shouldn't complain since there was an open bar there with Sam Adams on tap, but as for the tequila, blech! Sammy Hagar's Cabo Wabo tequila, on the other hand, which I had about a month ago at a party, was much better, but that's another story.

Anyhow, the show was at the space that used to be the short-lived club called The World, where me and my friend Jeremy saw The Damned put on a very good show 3 years ago and it's 1 block from the newly opened Nokia Theater, where we'll be seeing Bauhaus in November. At first, there was a DJ and then a screening of "URB Next 100 Live" which, despite the presence of Souza in the background where everyone involved was interviewed, was an interesting piece detailing how hip-hop, alternative rock and dance music have all combined into a cohesive whole and it featured innovative artists ranging from hip-hop MCs like Mr. Lif of the Perceptionists to DJs like Diplo to more well-known stars like Moby as well as Dave Allen from Gang of Four. I would've preferred it if there was seating for the movie and the sound system was better (a recurring theme for the evening) and people weren't talking over the movie, but again, all of it was free, so I can't really complain.

And then it was time for Gang of Four to come on. I was standing up front and unfortunately I'd forgotten to take my earplugs (my ears still hurt a bit) as they were loud and coupled against the absolute worst sound system I've ever heard. You could barely hear Jon King's vocals throughout their hour-long set. Either way, it didn't matter that much because Gang of Four completely kicked ass and wiped the floor with almost any band I've seen this year (save for The Arcade Fire, Mission of Burma and perhaps a few others). It much better than the also very good (but too short) Irving Plaza show back in May. The raw energy was unbelievable, especially for a band 25 years removed from their classic period. They played most of the songs from their 1st album Entertainment, 3 songs from 1981's underrated but equally as great Solid Gold and 1 from 1996's Shrinkwrapped ("I Parade Myself"). To say that they really know how to work a groove and that Dave Allen's bass-playing was funky as hell would be an understatement. Combining that with Andy Gill's guitar, which sounds like cutting shards of glass (in the best possible way), and Jon King's yelping and jumping around like a monkey all over the stage and you have a still powerful unit that should silence all the naysayers regarding their reunion.

PREVIOUSLY: If you wanna stream their new album, you can go here.


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