I see plenty of live gigs, but I was especially excited about the prospect of seeing Wire in Wakefield last Friday. For starters, it’s been a while since I’d visited Unity Hall, (or Unity Works , as its now known) in Wakefield. Infact it’s been almost 30 years since I last made my way upstairs to the venues main hall. I’m Wakefield born and bred you see, and like many of my towns folk, the Unity Hall was where I saw my first live bands. Like many I was gutted when the place closed in the 90’s. Last year, following a succesful campaign the Hall was finally re-opened and I’ve been aching to get back ever since. Likewise its almost 30 years since I last saw Wire.
It would be easy for a band such as Wire to rest on their laurels and purely tour the circuit replaying numbers from their early years, especially as their debut album, ‘Pink Flag’, is often sited as one of the most inspirational/genre defining albums of the post-punk era.
But no. With a new album due for release in April, the nostalgia could be reserved mainly for the building and its surroundings,(which incidentally are absolutely beautiful). Choosing to ignore the seminal album completely, the band opened proceedings with ‘Boiling Boy’ from 1988’s ‘A Bell Is A Cup Until It Is Struck’.
What followed was an absolute delight. Skipping between numbers from their late eighties album ‘The Ideal Copy’ and more recent numbers ‘Adore Your Island’ and ‘Stealth Of A Stork’, from 2013’s ‘Change Becomes Us’ the band moved on to showcase seven tracks from their latest album. Sounding as fresh and exciting as anything out there at the moment, the new stuff was wonderful.
Feedback from all areas of the crowd was unanimously positive. Wire have an ever faithful fan base, many of whom were in attendance tonight. It’s a testament to the band that people are prepared to travel from all over the land to catch a warm up gig. But those catching them for the first time , or catching up with them for the first time in a long time, were equally as entranced with the bands performance.
With a set so consistently impressive from the first to the very last song, it was hard to distinguish one particular stand-out track. From the new stuff ‘Sleepwalking’, with Matt dropping to the floor to employ the lap steel guitar, was absolutely outstanding.
But so was everything else. Wire don’t use any gimmicks, infact they stick to a fairly basic formula. But it’s a formula that see’s four distinctly separate individual styles combine to create something truly wonderful. A flawless performance from a band that is absolutely as relevant and exciting today as they ever were.
It was great to be back in Unity Hall, and it was great to see Wire again after all this time. A band to be respected and one definitely not to be missed live when they tour in a few months time.
GALLERY: just click on any picture to see full size
Boiling Boy ( from A Bell Is a Cup Until It Is Struck ’88)
Adore Your Island (Change Becomes Us ’13)
Advantage In Height ( The Ideal Copy ’87)
Please Take (Red Barked Tree ’11)
Stealth Of A Stork (Change Becomes Us ’13)
Drill (The Ideal Copy ’87)
Swallow (Wire ’15)
Blogging (Wire ’15)
Joust & Jostle (Wire ’15)
In Manchester (Wire ’15)
Sleepwalking (Wire ’15)
Split Your Ends (Wire ’15)
Two People In A Room (154 ’79)
Harpooned (Wire ’15)
Underwater Experiences (Document and Eyewitness ’81)
Spent (Send ’03)
Wire will be touring in full from April. Their thirteenth studio album ‘Wire from pinkflag now – Preorder ‘Wire’
April 12-13 – UK – BRIGHTON – Prince Albert
April 14-15-16-17-18 – UK – LONDON – DRILL : LEXINGTON (http://drillfestival.com)
April 20 – UK – SOUTHAMPTON – Engine Rooms
April 21 – UK – RAMSGATE – Music Hall
April 22 – UK – NOTTINGHAM – Rescue Rooms
April 23 – UK – LIVERPOOL – Kazimer
April 24 – UK – HEBDEN BRIDGE – Trades Club
April 26 – UK – ABERDEEN – Lemon Tree
April 27- UK – GLASGOW – King Tuts
April 28 – UK – LEEDS – Brudenell Social Club
April 29 – UK – MANCHESTER – Club Academy
April 30 – UK – BRISTOL – Fleece
May 27 – USA – SEATTLE, WA – Nuemos
May 29 – USA – SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Slim’s
May 30 – USA – LOS ANGELES, CA – The Echoplex
June 02 – USA – CAMBRIDGE, MA – The Sinclair
June 03 – USA – BROOKLYN, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
June 04 – USA – NEW YORK, NY – Bowery Ballroom
June 05 – USA – PHILADELPHIA, PA – Union Transfer
June 06 – USA – WASHINGTON, DC – Black Cat
June 08 – USA – CLEVELAND, OH – Beachland Ballroom
June 09 – USA – DETROIT, MI – Majestic Theatre
June 10 – USA – LOUISVILLE, KY – Headliners
Wire are: Matthew Simms (guitar), Robert Grey (drums), Colin Newman (vocals, guitar), Graham Lewis (vocals, bass)