Gang Of Four - O2 ABC, Glasgow
When a punk band reform you expect to see a sea of mohawks and old nostalgic men gently clapping as they revisit part of their lost youth. Not so with Gang Of Four, hugely influential and still tearing it up on stage. This year marks the 30th anniversary of album Entertainment! ranked at #490 in Rolling Stone's '500 Greatest Albums Of All Time'. Time to see how they still cut it after all these years.
I was eagerly anticipating the show and it seemed like the audience were up for it too. The band took to the stage and immediately exuded an energy that most young bands would not even now be able to match. Jon King bounced from one side of the stage to the other and the audience were equally responsive to his energy. The band played track after track, from 'I Love A Man In Uniform', 'To Hell With Poverty!' and 'Ether', each receiving a warm welcome. I was particularly impressed with the skill and technique of recent recruits Thomas McNeice and Mark Heaney on bass and drums.
Despite this, there was something lacking. The band were buzzing and entertaining but something didn't sit right; that was until 'At Home He's A Tourist' when everything seemed to kick off. A certain spark between Jon King and Andy Gill made the whole venue come alive. The show needed a kick up the arse and this was it. 'Damaged Goods' was followed by personal favourite 'I Found That Essence Rare', the evening's energy finally turning into something almost tangible.
I turned up expecting what could be described as a band dusting off some old songs and revisiting their past, like most other bands do when they reform. Instead, it is easy to see why after thirty years Gang Of Four are still influencing bands - and people - to this day. The music on show did not feel dated at all, if anything it sounded fresh and invigorating. 'Entertainment!' indeed!