Maybe I just had LOST's season finale on my mind, but Wire frontman Colin Newman looks more than a little like that show's Benjamin Linus these days. Or a college professor. Dressed in a black suit, with glasses falling off his nose, Newman nonetheless sounded the same with that punk sneer and strong London accent.
This was Wire's first NYC show in eight years. Ripping into "Our Time" from last year's excellent Read and Burn 03 EP, they pretty much announced right off the bat that a) they've still got it and b) they weren't here to trot out the hits. They never have been that type anyway. When the band reformed in 1985 after a six year break, they hired a Wire cover band (The Ex-Lion Tamers) to open for them on tour to do the songs from their first incarnation.
Tonight, however, we got Wire from every era of the group and nearly every album. Seven of the set's 16 songs were 1990 or before, sprinkled throughout the set (despite what Brooklyn Vegan commenters might have you believe), though they did save the best-known ones for the end, including "The 15th" and "12XU" (or as my friend Dorrit calls it, "Twelve Times You"). and Early in the set we The new songs from Wire's upcoming album, Object 47, sounded solid — definitely more melodic than anything else they've done this decade, the best of which was probably "One of Us" which they released as a free download last week.
Again, despite the majority of the set being new-ish material, we did also get "Being Sucked in Again" from Chairs Missing early in the set, as well as "Boiling Boy" from A Bell is a Cup Until it Is Struck, and The Ideal Copy's "Advantage in Height." My only complaint is these oldies are the same ones they played in 2001 at Irving Plaza, and it would be nice if they mixed it up a little giving us "Manequin," "I am the Fly," or "Drill," with maybe one or two of Graham's songs as well ("Blessed State," "Ambitious" or "The Finest Drops").
The band was in fine form, though. Watching from the side area I got a good view of drummer Robert Gotobed who is still a machine at age 57. Bassist Graham Lewis, in a knit cap that had to have been hot, did not look his age, and Margaret Fielder (of Laika and Moonshake) makes a fine replacement for Bruce Gilbert. (I've got to pull out those Laika records…) Hopefully Wire will return once the album is out, and take less than eight years to do so.
SETLIST: Our Time | Mr. Marx's Table | Comet | Being Sucked in Again | Mekon Headman | Perspex Icon | Advantage in Height | The Agfers of Kodack | All Fours | One of Us | Boiling Boy | The 15th | 106 Beats That | I Don't Understand | ENCORE: Lowdown | 12XU
And Pat at Pop Tarts Suck Toasted shot this nice video of "Lowdown":