Friday, 17 April 2015

If This is Not an Exercise, Could it be a Drill ... an evening with Wire

Today's post is a bit of a departure from my usual psychogeography inspired, urban wanderings, but I had to share my experience from last night. More years ago than I care to remember, a good friend of mine brought in a copy of his brother's Pink Flag album by Wire. To say I was blown away would be a massive understatement. So, it was with huge excitement and anticipation that I made my way across London to the Lexington venue in Islington, to see the legends play live.

Wire, Lexington, Thursday 16th April 2005
Wire, Lexington, Thursday 16th April 2005

On entering the venue I was slightly confused as it just appeared to be a crowded pub, and it wasn't until I had bought my pint and turned around that I spotted the stairs leading up to the actual venue. I had arrived in plenty of time so was in no rush to head upstairs, and spent some time people watching whilst supping my pint of Pale Ale. Downstairs the crowd were quite mixed and it wasn't immediately obvious to guess which ones would later head upstairs to see Wire. Would it be the earnest looking, bearded chap reading a book? Would it be the leather jacketed chap with the one inch punk badges on his lapel? Would it be the guy in what I'm sure was a 154 sweatshirt? Would it be any of the 50 something, folically challenged crowd like myself?

As people started to move upstairs, I joined the small queue, traded in my bar-coded ticket for a rubber stamp on the hand (it's been years since I had one of those) and ascended to the performance area. I ended up standing within spitting distance of the stage, but of course I did not spit. This was a very civilized affair, with people who bumped into me turning to apologise, rather than elbowing me out of the way to get to the front. Nor was I actually that near the front as the venue is pretty small, so I guess I was just over half way in, with probably 4 or 5 rows between me and the stage.

As I watched the support act, various members of Wire brushed past me as they made their way backstage. After the support act had finished, they came to the stage and proceeded to pretty much set up their own equipment, with only a little reaction from the audience. This was a far cry from one of my recent gigs where Captain Sensible was greeted with his usual "Sensible's a w***er" chant. After a short time setting up, they came on stage and acknowledged this was Lexington number 3. Any fears that Wire would not live up to how I imagined them to be were immediately dismissed as they burst into their opening number, 23 Years Too Late from Read and Burn 03. The remainder of the first part of the set focused on their newer material, with some tracks from their new album, Wire, but dipping occasionally into the past to churn out staples like Drill. whilst at the same time avoiding the classics like Outdoor Miner, Dot Dash, etc.

Wire, Lexington, Thursday 16th April 2005
Wire, Lexington, Thursday 16th April 2005

After a short break they returned and I think they may have played some of their more caustic, earlier tracks but I have to admit I found it hard to name them - shame on me. No doubt someone better informed will correct me.

    

I notice they are also playing slightly nearer to me, in Southampton on Monday - very, very tempted.

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