I don’t think anyone can win a game of stare eyes with Andy Gill, the Gang of Four’s guitarist. An immovable force, he stands in his nicely tailored suit and rips off short, sharp, tense, just short of searing blasts. He is not moved–physically, when singer Jon King’s worm-dance flexs collide with him trying to hug him off of his natural trajectory, while the primal pulsing beat cannot keep the crowd from lulling and pogoing–the mountain does not budge. Yes, he will lurch and stalk using the neck of the guitar as a bayonet to make a point about or against life’s futility. Nor is he moved–emotionally, while his band resumes its 30+ year old tales of commerce, sex and lust and sex as commerce and commerce as inequality and sex as inequality and loneliness and back again like no other band before or since. Is that the point? Have any of us or the world learned anything over this time? Only that no guitarist creates so much force with so little action and that Damaged Goods can turn a room full of 40+ somethings into angst shedding teenagers propelled vertically lifting shitkicker boots for a round of punk aerobics–with the song without the disconnected thrashing today’s youth considers to be slam dancing.
It is clear that taking 6 years off and playing with a new rhythm section, and maybe having new material allowed King and Gill to maintain an immense level of energy. The new rhythm section lays a propulsive, mechanical foundation (seemingly slightly faster than their originals) for the two remaining originals to carry the show. As one sign of the bands effort to evidence their vitality and currency, they eschewed the pure disco of “I Love the Man in Uniform” instead of showcasing it or performing it as a throwaway. The new stuff stays in the same vein but a little light and dancy–kinda late Roxy Music or Peter Gabriel?–which allowed for a counterpoint to catch a breather before the next old, edgy, minimalist post-punk attack on our socioeconomic scheme and our individual and collective consciense, sensuality and very existance, so that they did not tarnish their reputation and legacy as simply one of the best live bands ever.
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