Thursday, 7 May 2009

Devo at The Forum, London, 6/5/09

The premise for tonight's gig - 5 overweight, middle-aged, big-in-the-eighties men in yellow boiler suits playing their debut album in its entirety, to an audience of overweight, middle-aged, were-young-once men in yellow boiler suits - is absurd.

Until, after the exhibition of Devo's original 'The Complete Truth About De-evolution' (which can't be found on Youtube), Devo take the stage and own it from there in.

If you're not familiar with Devo I'm disappointed. They carried the flag of surrealist humour, charting the de-volution of man in regression to their ape-like roots. Back in the day as a the first American signing to the British label Stiff records - home to Elvis Costello and the legendary Ian Dury to name but two - and forerunners of the post-punk slew of eighties bands, making bizarre music videos as the MTV generation developed.

It was all there tonight, the stage show - tearing away the yellow signature Devo boiler suit to reveal the signature Devo black shorts and t-shirt - just like they used to. The music - you can't fault those guys as great musicians, especially when you take into account Mark Mothersbaugh's continued success as writer of film scores and mastery of the stage - was perfect, heavier than on record but delivered without pretension.

It was calmly reassuring on the trip home to overhear discussions between fathers and sons about how great they were and how the record (vinyl no less) was going to wake the neighbours when they got home.

The truth about de-volution is that Devo can play out a fantastic gig to long term fans reliving it through a new generation of fans without ever appearing tired or dated.


Cucumber Jones said...

Last night's Devo show is a reminder that the band own the stage, are still compelling as ever, and were always ahead of their time in a retro modern way. They continue to innovate. May I suggest that you watch the animated video for their latest song "Don't Shoot (I'm A Man)" on YouTube. Jerry Casale directed it and it's simple but highly ironic with snipers on rooftops shooting innocent American civilians. Can't wait to see Mark and his mates back in Blighty later this year when the new album comes out.

Daniel Wade said...

Gutted I missed it. Feel better after reading this though, cheers dude.