Brudenell fairly recently turned up the Northern social club vibe by selling pie and mash. Not just any old pie of course but a Pieminister pie. It’s not that unbelievable then when I enter the venue, walk into the lounge to grab a pint I spot the whole band sat around one of the tables getting stuck into a round of pies. There’s a few looks amongst the crowd of “is that Wire eating pie?” and yeah it is. So what. Anyway, I look across a little later and noticed the band apart from Graham have left and the support is on. I decide to check out the support…
Went along to the Saturday of a 3 day Drill Festival in Leeds which celebrated Wire’s 40th anniversary but looking forward rather than back.
Tickets were around mid-20s mark for the day which was great value considering all the bands you had access to. Checked out a few others including JoeyFat who was very entertaining (watched on by Wire’s rhythm section in the crowd). Lead singer resplendent in what appeared to be a kiddies matador outfit.
Never seen Clinic live but I’ve always had a soft spot for them. They were very good and played a lot of their first album to the delight of the crowd. Will be checking them out live in their own right.
Wire appeared at around 10pm. I think it’s fair to say the crowd were waning by now but they put on a blinding performance. Despite the look back bores “Three Girl Rhumba” got an airing. They continue to release quality albums and put on great live shows. I look forward to their 50th anniversary as there’s no signs of them slowing down.
Walking into the venue no one checks our tickets – coulda saved £30 there (only joking of course).
One third full at best, the newly revamped Unity Hall looks fantastic but feels a bit empty this evening. The sound mix is horrific. Possibly the worst sound I’ve ever witnessed at a gig (apart from possibly Buzzcocks at Leeds Uni a few years back).
Vocals echo off and bounce around a spacious hall, constant feedback and distortion. I’m dead centre in the hall and it feels like they’re taking the piss a little. That said, always good to see Wire and the setlist (new album heavy) is pretty decent. The new songs sound great “In Manchester” and “Swallow” are particular highlights. “Spent” sounding great this evening as well. The sound does improve towards the end. Booking tickets for Leeds in April.
Support band Xavier appear – Tad mental. 3 blokes, 1 on Roland Sequencer, 1 on Drums and 1 on guitar (no vocals) – They jam for around 40 mins – 2 songs. Dunno how they keep it going for so long, particularly the drummer. First 10 mins prove interesting but I’m kinda bored after that. Some of the crowd seem to really dig it.
Wire appear around 9.30 – We’d already seen them as they did their own onstage final testing 10 mins earlier. They have a new addition to the band – A keyboardist who’s served time in Julian Cope’s band – He adds a much needed melodic layer IMO although at times his glances across the stage remind me of Les from Vic and Bob’s “Big Night Out” – Maybe he’s scared of chives. I’m being too harsh on the chap as he’s certainly adding to proceedings. Colin and co looking quite youthful tonight – Colin has an iPad on a stand in front of him which I think has the setlist on it – There’s a couple of unintended comedy moments this evening. Colin swipes his iPad at the end of every song to see the next track – At one stage he’s playing the ending to one song and rocking out on his guitar – mid strum he swipes the iPad which kinda kills the ending – a bit like shouting “Next!!” at some talent show hopeful. The venue becomes quite warm now. Colin removes his black sweatshirt to reveal another identical black sweatshirt underneath. Maybe it’s the “Rapture” ale but it was pretty comical.
Not bad setlist – Some old classics “Another the Letter”, “Map Ref” and there’s plenty off the new album which sounds much better live. That said the venue’s PA sounds chronic, one of the speakers crackled throughout and the vocals were pretty inaudible. A few interesting encores – One of my fave modern day Wire tracks “23 Years Too Late” doesn’t really work live. Graham’s plum English delivery isn’t really feeling it in this live arena – although Colin’s punk rant chorus is rather splendid.