1979. A year that rings in my head as one of the finest music
years in recorded history. Somewhere amidst all the crap that
was going on in mainstream music, the few who were carefully listening
were finding some amazing music. From the biting new wave of The
Clash to the dark tones of Bauhaus, the musical world
was on it's ear. Wire was there. And Wire rocked the house.
Here, for the first time on DVD, is a release of the Wire performance
from Rockpalast, a German music show that was by
and far the most serious venue on German television for real music
at the time. Wire certainly did not disappoint with their performance.
On The Box: 1979 is an incredible glance into the burgeoning
post-punk scene, and you get two ways to enjoy the performance
in one great package! You get the full performance on DVD, as
well as an interview with the band (good for a laugh at times),
and a complete audio recording of the performance to listen to
wherever your travels may take you. The set kicks off with a ripping,
heavily-flanged version of "Another The Letter" and
quickly builds steam from there. By the time the band is making
their way into "Practice Makes Perfect", Robert Gotobed's
shirt comes off and the intensity becomes tangible. Wire has always
been rumored a stoic band live, and by all accounts, they are.
Yet, watching the DVD definitely gives a glimpse into the harnessed
energy of a Wire live performance; demonstrating that a band need
not bounce around on stage to be captivating and mesmerizing.
Colin Newman is dressed smartly in a tie and slacks, a
uniform that belies his purposeful musical onslaught, as he bashes
away on his guitar and leads the band through a number of Wire
"Blessed State" is a definite highlight for me, as
it was one of my favorite early Wire recordings, and this performance
is nothing short of astonishing. Being able to watch the stoic
posture of Bruce Gilbert as he adds the tasty guitar licks
that really made the early Wire music something incredible in
it's own right. Bass is substantive and thick, a rarity for a
majority of live recordings from this era, but all the tone that
the energetic Graham Lewis can muster is extremely evident.
"40 Versions" is also a very cool track, with it's Newman
tuning guitars, thick with distortion, and the grooviest bassline
that Wire ever turned out.
The recording quality of the music is simply amazing, making
this a pure archivist's dream. And, allegedly, this is the first
in a series of archive releases of Wire material. I'm on the edge
of my chair waiting for the next installment. If it contains only
half the beauty and substance found on On The Box: 1979,
it will surely be another fine addition to any fan's collection.
2. Another The Letter
3. The 15th
4. Practice Makes Perfect
5. Two People In A Room
6. I Feel Mysterious Today
7. Being Sucked In Again
8. Once Is Enough
9. Blessed State
10. A Question Of Degree
11. Single KO
13. 40 Versions
14. Former Airline
15. A Touching Display
16. French Film Blurred
17. Men 2nd
18. Map Ref. 41 N 93 W
20. Pink Flag
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