"Dutch Wire fans look incredibly battered (years of being glum and post punk can take it’s toll, not to mention the Sisyphean struggle of getting into increasingly ill-fitting drainpipe jeans) "
Wire – Ekko, Utrecht 30/04/08
Well, this was a gig that was obviously going to be un-missable (to borrow a tired old cliché). Judging by the long queue outside the Ekko at door-opening time it seemed that punters old and new thought the same. Dutch Wire fans either look incredibly battered (years of being glum and post punk can take it’s toll, not to mention the Sisyphean struggle of getting into increasingly ill-fitting drainpipe jeans) or incredibly fresh-faced (what have you done to Garlanded Youth oh Futureheads and Ferdinands?). No matter, once the crowds were inside, it was time to take up positions in the bar, post-punk style.
The Ekko is a smashing venue, possibly my favourite in Holland. Not only is it situated in a lovely part of town, it sells nice ‘Limburgse’ organic beer. Which we sampled. We even got the deejay fella to play Can’s Hallelujwah: all in all top stuff and a perfect set-up for the band’s appearance, replete with new lass on guitar. Once one or two sound issues were sorted, (the inevitable price of using laptops on stage), we went straight into what I presume is the material from their new release.
Now, you must forgive me as my Wire-knowledge extends to the three classic LPs (Pink Flag, Chairs Missing and 154) but it seems that the band are keen to build on the sonic reputation that they are celebrated for, albeit in a more angry and at times prolonged manner. There was a weighty, powerful feel to the new songs’ sound and Colin Newman fairly belted out his tracks’ lines with that sinister, wheedling ‘bark’ he has. The new material certainly blended in seamlessly with the old and the odd oldie played early on (I’m pretty sure Being Sucked in Again was early on in the main set) almost caught me off guard.
This gig was always going to throw up old numbers at some stage, and it was obvious that dues were going to be paid later on, but I wasn’t expecting quite such a thumping set of encores. Despite Mr Newman’s glowering demeanour the band seemed to relish proving that they could still hammer out precision-made, ice-cold weird as fuck pop. Playing The 15th made my night and following it with 12XU was almost too much, but to follow it with Pink Flag in the second encore; well, what can you say? If you get the chance to see them, then I would. Sharpish.
Looking forward to this new LP too.
Words: Richard Foster