1187066_603323393039881_1466778579_n– GORILLA, MANCHESTER –

Wire are one of those bands that you discover through reading reviews of other bands. For me it happened in the earlier 2000’s, when ‘art-rock’ was making big waves through bands such as Franz Ferdinand and The Futureheads, and every review seemed to reference these bands from days of yore called ‘Wire’ and ‘Television’, and most of the reviews pointed in the direction of the album Pink Flag. Being young and impressionable, I sought out a copy of Pink Flag and was immediately hooked, seeking out all that the band had done. And it turned out Wire weren’t a band from days of yore either, they were still going strong, still releasing albums that were far better than most of the young upstarts who they influenced. Tonight’s show in a relatively busy Gorilla is in support of one of those great new albums, Change Becomes Us, and it quickly becomes clear that this is no nostalgia show; Wire are here to remind us all just how great and relevant they can still be.

The gig is almost entirely made up of new songs, with nothing (I’m pretty sure) played from Pink Flag, and only a couple of oldies are aired from Chairs Missing and 154. This strikes me a very punk thing to do (I don’t really think Wire are a punk band though, they are so much more than that), and it pays off in spades. Wire are ferocious tonight, belying their age (lead singer/guitarist Colin Newman is 59, the only clue to his elder statesman of music status being an iPad which he reads some of the lyrics off…but still, an iPad!) to deliver an electrifying show of post-punk-art-rock-hardcore brilliance. ‘Doubles & Trebles’ is fearsome, delivered with a snarl and a passion I haven’t seen from pretty much any band around at the moment, guitars wailing with feedback and bursts of frantic riffs. ‘Adore Your Island’ starts off a bit like a KISS song, with a huge stadium rock riff, but this is Wire, and it soon collapses into shards of noise that bands like HEALTH would be proud of.

Stood watching, pretty much in total awe all the way through, I mentally tick off bands that must have heard Wire when they were young and thought “Yeah, I think I’ll grab a guitar and do stuff like that with it”. Sonic Youth, The Pixies, REM, Nirvana; they all must have owned a tattered copy of Pink Flag. But it’s not all short, sharp post punk. The most impressive song of the set is ‘Harpooned’, which is almost prog-punk. It just keeps going, all moody atmosphere, walls of guitars and post-rock ambitions, and it suits them incredibly well. They finish the set off by inviting their support band Xaviers (an experimental noise group who count a visual artist amongst their number), on stage to tear through a motorik-noise number that leaves my ears pummelled and enlivened. Even at this stage of their career, Wire are still pushing the boundaries of what it means to be innovators and influencers, and long may they continue.

Wire Official | Facebook | Soundcloud