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This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… Wire January 29, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

Wire? Brilliant, no dispute. Early period, Pink Flag – stone classic, Chairs Missing – the pace slows somewhat, but in an interesting way, 154 – remarkable. Then they stopped.

And then returned as an electronic band, of sorts. New Orderesque, but with a crisper edge, perhaps informed by their adherence to a much more concise form of post-punk originally. And they even charted, with Eardrum Buzz (apparently their biggest hit – well so sez wiki, so it must be true 😉 ). But to call them poppy, well, not so much. Melodic, certainly, but shot through with an amelodic aspect and with a heaviness that set them apart from the more straight ahead outfits in the same area. Later they became Wir, after one of their members left and then stopped again for a while. The 2000s saw intermittent appearances in both album and live form and a new album was released this very month.

But that 1985 to 1990 period is to me perhaps better than their original incarnation. Slightly though, only slightly, let me assure the purists – and it’s a mood thing too, catch me on another day and it’s all 154 or Pink Flag in my head. But there’s something of The Passage about their approach. Perhaps not quite as stark but listen to ‘Drill’ and the connections are evident, aesthetically. Indeed listen to ‘Ahead’ and the original iteration of the band is also evident, that impassioned but very slightly detached overview that they made their own. Though in truth pretentious is another word that sometimes come to mind when I hear them, and it’s a charge that has to some degree dogged their later reputation. And yet, the music still holds up [and can I recommend while we’re talking about pretension and The Passage this absolutely brilliant overview of the latter band by Phil on The Gaping Silence which somehow manages to be both affectionate and highly and accurately critical simultaneously?]

Anyhow, here are a number of tracks from that period. If you can get your hands on 1985-1990: The A List that’s pretty handy as an overview of the period. It’s a curious compilation whose running order was sequenced by polling fans. Why? Who knows.

At the end there’s a piece from a live version of ‘Drill’ .

We start with their finest moment of that period… the fascinating ‘In Vivo’ (this is the 7″ version apparently) followed by their second finest moment, ‘Ahead’.


In Vivo


Eardrum Buzz

Kidney Bingoes


Silk Skin Paws

Drill [live on the Late Show]


1. WorldbyStorm - January 29, 2011

link to Phil’s piece fixed in text above… here’s the link for anyone who missed it…



2. Mark P - January 29, 2011

This is another “This Weekend I’ll be listening to” feature which I can wholeheartedly endorse.

They’re also still a great live band, and one which is distinctly unwilling to concentrate on playing “the hits” (well, not actually hits but the first three albums). There are very, very, few bands which last more than 30 years and yet remain interesting and refuse to become a tribute band to themselves.


Mark P - January 29, 2011

I forgot to add: They are playing Dublin on 5 Feb.


WorldbyStorm - January 29, 2011

That’s brilliant I hope the new album is good. Just on the thought about tribute bands I love the way they toured in the 1980s with a tribute band who opened for them doing all the early songs…



John O'Farrell - January 31, 2011

They are playing next Sunday at the Spring & Airbrake in Belfast. Yippee. More Here: http://www.pinkflag.com/


WorldbyStorm - January 31, 2011

Good album the new one, you may be in for a treat.


3. Chet Carter - January 29, 2011

Another informative ‘Weekend’ post. I was definitely into the artier, more angular side of punk from across the water – Alternative TV, Au Pairs,Josef K, Pop Group, Subway Sect, X Ray Spex and XTC who played a storming Sunday night gig in McGonagles. I went to a load of punk gigs in the late seventies and early eighties but I don’t remember seeing Wire. Did they ever play in Dublin during that period?


sonofstan - January 29, 2011

Don’t think so.

Last time I saw them was (gulp!) 33 years ago in London.


4. Chet Carter - January 29, 2011

Tell me about it, and still talking about punk rock!


sonofstan - January 29, 2011

And currently listening to the Au Pairs as it happens……

Not a sad old bloke. Not at all.


5. Chet Carter - January 29, 2011

Ha, ha, the same here. I gave up trying to keep up with the kids around the turn of the Century. I struggle to think of any music that I have that was made in the twenty first century. Incidentally, watching the Southampton versus United game with early Cabaret Voltaire playing in the background.


6. anarchaeologist - January 29, 2011

Wire have always been one of my favourite bands; the new lp is great. They did a European tour in the mid ’90s as part of a performance art package which started with a tribute band (which turned out to be Wire themselves, a bit like Luke Haines supported by Baader Meinhof), followed, if memory serves by a musical installation on stage with dancers (possibly the band again)which morphed into a very loud Drill, finishing off with a ‘greatest hits’ thing, but played dreadfully slowly. The lights went on after the gig and I was lucky enough to stay behind chatting when they came on again and played a few numbers that nobody recognised to about 30 bemused Austrians. I seem to remember they played nothing off the first two lps at all. That’s my Wire story.


WorldbyStorm - January 29, 2011

Sounds…er… fun… maybe. 😉


7. Crocodile - January 30, 2011
WorldbyStorm - January 30, 2011

I read that. Nicely entertaining. You don’t happen to be signed up to emusic do you?


Crocodile - January 30, 2011

I do. Downloading ‘Red Barked Tree’ even as we type.


WorldbyStorm - January 30, 2011

Snap! and Red Barked Tree today as well…

Good site. And still a lot cheaper than downloading from iTunes.


crocodile - January 30, 2011

You have to be careful with it – a lot of re-recorded versions of old classics, for example – but it’s particularly good for stuff from American independent labels you wouldn’t easily find on cd here or on imusic. And at the prices you can be adventurous.


WorldbyStorm - January 30, 2011

That’s true. I’ve heard a lot of stuff that I otherwise wouldn’t have. though the rerecordings are annoying and the new pricing system is a bit rubbish.


8. Mark P - February 5, 2011

The Dublin gig is tonight. Academy 2, support from Estel (a band I last saw 10 years ago and didn’t realise were still going). Doors 7:30.

Are any of the rest of you going?


WorldbyStorm - February 5, 2011

Nah, no baby sitter unfortunately.


9. Phil - February 8, 2011

I seem not to have commented on this one. There might have to be a What Wire Meant To Me (Parts 1-4) post…


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