Photo by Helen Boast
Last night, post-punk innovators Gang of Four played at Hoxton's tiny Macbeth as a warm up show for their "HMV" Forum gig on 26th September.
Playing to an unfortunately subdued, media-heavy audience, the band stuck fairly rigidly to a "one off Entertainment! then one off the other records" set list to strong effect. Whilst their debut album does somewhat over-shadow the rest of their career, played live, loud and with the rawness that characterises that seminal record, all of the songs stand up.
The highlight and centrepiece was a protracted, malignant 'Anthrax'. Whilst the jerky, clangy, stuttery sound of most of Andy Gill's guitar parts has been ripped off to the point of banality, the stunning, corrosive feedback that the song is based around still sounded completely fresh, and all the more so stood just a few metres from his amp.
Considering the band's former message of the dismantling of rock’n’roll clichés, their use of a pre-prepared encore is a bit disillusioning, but forgivable. When a 54 year old man like vocalist Jon King is putting that much energy into a gig, swinging from the rafters and dancing in delirium, a little sit down is the least he could ask for.
All criticisms do seem a bit faint though. Seeing one of the greatest, most influential bands in history playing their best songs loudly in a small pub, was the closest much of the audience will ever get to experiencing them in their prime, and a great example of a worthwhile reunion.
Review by Christopher Alcxxk