The air was electric as the hour approached, people born in the 40’s through to the 90’s all riled by the same thrill of anticipation. Yes, it is a new line up again, with one soul remaining from the original 1977 line up. However, this band has had many reincarnations and dedicated fans are used to it by now. Guitarist Andy Gill was shredding his funky solo’s as always, John “Gaoler” Sterry did quite a lot of crawling on the floor and of course the rhythm section tore the roof off that place with in your face bass. The new guys were clearly giving it their all on stage and delivered an amazing show.
The Gang of Four also has excellent taste, always bringing a well-deserved indie band on their tours. In fact, that is how I discovered Hollerado. This time their opener was a high energy post punk pop band called Public Access Television from NYC. Unfortunately this is something less and less common to see established bands doing these days and something wonderful to see when it does happen.
For those who may not be aware the Gang of Four are THE post punk band. Hailing from Leeds, England they blend the original punk sound with funk, rock and of course a little bit of dub. Not to over sell them, but they have had lasting influence on bands from R.E.M. to Primus to Green Day to The Red Hot Chili Peppers. The Gang Of Four did for post-punk what The Pixies did for grunge.
As is the case with most classic British bands they have a penchant for raw anti-establishment lyrics with a political focus on fascist conservatism. In fact, the bands name was taken from a Chinese group of radicals who bore the same name up until 1976, they were brought down a month after Mau’s death. Many see the removal of this group, not Mau Zedong’s death, as the marked end of Mau’s cultural revolution.
The highlight of the show for me was their first real single, released in 78, ‘Damaged Goods’. Not only because it is my favorite song, but it seemed to be everyone else’s as well, the whole crowd surged forward and in a frenzy and a mosh pit was formed.
I know it seems like I only go to Lee’s Palace, but they have had some amazing shows booked as of late. I promise I do frequent other venues as well. The band just released their ninth album in February 2015, aptly titled, What Happens Next. So whether you are a die hard veteran or a fresh young fan, listen to their new album before diving into their extensive discography and be sure to catch their crazy live show.