Concert Recommendation: Gang of Four with Radio 4, May 11 & 12 at the Metro
Before there was Franz Ferdinand, the Futureheads and a myriad of other
early-'80s angular punk revival bands, there was the original angular
punk band, Gang of Four. Their songs are now underground classics,
epitomized by scratching guitars and throbbing basslines: "I Found That
Essence Rare," "I Love a Man in a Uniform," "Damaged Goods," etc. Their
influence is all over the charts these days. And the original line-up
has reunited to bask in the warranted glory.
Admittedly, their first reunion tour in 1991 for Mall, which only included original
members Andy Gill and Jon King, didn't make much of an impression on
me. But I wasn't as familiar with their back catalog then. More
importantly, the rhythm section of drummer Hugo Burnham and Dave Allen
is with them now, and Allen is not only a distinctive player but also
has considerable stage presence. So this tour bodes better than those
for, say Wire or New Order, influential bands who don't provide much
worth watching in concert.
Radio 4, a Brooklyn band who take lots of inspiration from Gang of Four
but haven't gotten nearly the level of publicity as their like-sounding
peers, are opening. I've seen them twice and found them somehow
lacking. As much as I love their edgy, driving recordings, they haven't
connected yet live. But I view it as a "yet," holding out hope that
they'll find a way to make their shows more invigorating.
Gang of Four play with Radio 4 at the
Metro, 3730 N. Clark St.,
Chicago, 773.549.0203 at 7:30 on Wednesday, May 11 and Thursday, May 12.