the loud bassoon concert scene

Wire @ Abbey Pub, Chicago, USA
26 June 2003

The world was unusually just on this night, allowing things to work as they ought to instead of how they always do. By this I mean that it was the Loud Bassoon contingent who had the best seats in the house, as we ended up squatting at the table reserved for the mega-bonehead who writes for the Sun-Times. Our audacity was something Wire would have approved of: confrontational, a bit smug, cheeky, and moreover, righteous.

Had the buffoon showed up to muscle us out of his priviliged spot, I might have had to challenge him to a two-fisted duel of musical knowledge straight away, and you know who would have won that one. Um, me, in case you don't, in fact, know who.

Jim D'Big-Rot-Ass will explain to you in thousands of gaseous words why Wire is so important, significant, etc, etc, but as anyone who can't himself actually rock, he misses the head-exploding fury of it all – and the fact that Wire, at any rate, ought simply be judged on what they're doing now. For it is, improbably, their golden era.

The contrast between the SUPER-lame opening band (I believe they were called the Standard, which is appropriate enough) and the real deal couldn't have been more obvious. The anemic twentysomethings trying desperately to convince a packed house that they rock held not a candle, nor even a borrowed match, to the elder statesmen who continue to not be elder statesmen.

Unlike the Buzzcocks, whose newer material is fine but pretty much same ol' same ol', or the Fall, who have simply disappeared up their own ass, Wire are now more than ever, of this moment, this sound, this snotty snipy vocal – and their refusal to be what they were or once again might be is what makes them the best band in the world. Wire are.

And so it is that the live show is the best way to get Wired. These guys tore the sky apart, blackening all the pasty white faces in the audience with cannonball smoke through an unrelenting set of mostly new songs.

There were some happy surprises – fuck it, I don't mind admitting I nearly peed my panties when they pulled out "Strange" all of a sudden – but mostly this show was all about the now. As was my drinking and smoking, unfortunately, which led to a rather unpleasant hungoverday at the office on Friday.

Thrills were had all along, though if I had to pick a few as favorites, I'd go with "The Art of Stopping," "Spent," and the first of three cigarettes I charmed my friend Diane out of. And I enjoyed having a sneery look on my face, reigning in the throne of a wormtongued king who ought to be deposed – thinking, "Damn it, this is how it should be: the real media coming first!"

Incidentally, J.D. Rot Ass published a review of the show in the Sun Times … that's integrity. I'm sure he wasn't there, 'cause there's no way I would have missed him.

Review by Angela Ballsout