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Return The Gift

Scott Newman
Scott Newman

 It is not very often that I get nervous to see a band play live but this time I have to admit that I did feel intimidated to see the legendary Gang of Four

Gang of Four

I know that this show is coming to New Zealand on Friday, 25th February at the Powerstation, Mount Eden so I do not want to spoil the set list for the diehard fans. I want to point out that if you are a fan or are curious about this post punk marvel, you must go to this concert as you will not regret it!

My first flirtation with Gang of Four for me was when I was going through a boring period of my musical store/CD's and alike. I wanted to hear something meaningful and challenging. The first album I purchased from Real Groovy Records was of course Entertainment! Oh, boy! that was it for me, it changed me a lot. The way I thought about music and raw power/energy. I was so inspired by the musical style as it was about groove, guitar, noise, political movements, angst and anger. I wanted more so I went through purchasing the back catalogue to see a transformation in the band. Founding members Dave Allen (Bassist) and Hugo Burnham (drums) were part of the reunion of the band until 2008. The replacement members are Thomas McNeice (bassist) and Mark Heaney. (drums)

When I learned that the reunion included Vancouver, the decision was easy that this was a must go gig and one of high priority. I had read a lot of reviews of their shows from the past... especially the 1977-1983 years. This band has clearly influenced many of the bands that I like today so it made sense that I return the gift to one of my main influences of music.


Gang of Four - Live Review

This show really blew me away. Firstly, what really intimidated me was how precise and unforgiving founding members Andy Gill (Guitar Wizard) and Jon King (Vocals, Percussion and Mad Man -pictured above) are professionals. You can tell that they have been in the business for some time. What I couldn't imagine is how much mass energy these guys could generate.

They have a new album out called Content which was promoted through the show. I have to admit you get a bit worried about a legendary epic band that has been around since 1977 off and on bringing out a new album in 2011 and how relative it is going to be now. GOF has such a distinct sound due to the jagged/edgy guitar work from Andy. Well it all worked largely in part to the abilities of the front men.

They all left a distinct impression on me with the anger on the set of songs. Jon King paraded around the stage often wrestling with bassist Thomas. Twirling the mic in a hazardous fashion and pointing accusingly at the crowd. He ended up pounding the mic stand in frustration as it cut out during the first few songs (which was no problem for me being up front :)) He also through the stand around later in the set. I liked the stage antics making me think of old times like Nirvana trashing there instruments. After Andy played Anthrax he smashed his guitar on the stage as if he screwed it up or something. (a real nice guitar too) Both of the new touring members added to the animosity as Mark bashed the drums in anger at the end of songs. Thomas flailed the Bass around on stage. It was a very impressive display of controlled anger in the set.

They played two encores on the gig I went too including the top hits of Damaged Goods & I Love A Man In Uniform amongst a superior selection of old and songs from content. It appeared as if the aggression during the show was an act as it was all smiles and bows at the end. I was truly humbled and yelled out several thank you's! It is not often I feel completely satisfied after seeing a show but this time I felt like putting a large tick in the box. These guys sure know how to put on a good show after all these years! They are a dictionary look up of post punk, art noise music. I recommend this show to people who enjoy gritty live performances!



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