Often labelled as ‘post-punk’, Wire mix their sparky indie pop with sublime and haunting melodies, jumping from abrasive guitar and hard pumping bass lines segueing into gentle chords, and all with a generous helping of obscure lyrics and arty quirkiness.
With more than 40 years of live performances and 17 albums to their name, anticipation for favourite tracks was high - although a pitiful plea from an audience member for ‘I am the Fly’ was swatted away with a ‘no chance’. Instead, Graham Lewis, Colin Newman, Robert Grey and 2010 newcomer Matthew Simms plunged into a set list of tracks from new offering Mind Hive, dot-dashed with tracks from their extensive back catalogue including French Film Blurred (Chairs Missing, 1978), I Should Have Known Better (154, 1979), and Ex Lion Tamer (Pink Flag, 1977).
The sublime Hung from Mind Hive, just four minutes short of an eight-minute anthem, was the final track on the setlist. “The clouds were high, And the jury was hung. In a moment of doubt, The damage was done, Trust was lost, And the wheels had spun.” The energy and pulsating rhythm of this track was a reminder that Wire continue to be outstanding in what they do and have remained consistently innovative and loyal to the fans who have supported them through four decades.
There were more blasts from the past in the encore – the singalong Outdoor Miner followed by the grating chords of A Former Airline. The icing on the evening’s cake was a phenomenal serving of A Touching Display from 154 which sent us off into the unseasonably mild January night with a sense of ecstatic foreboding.