Article and Photos by: Thomas Mayer
For fans of the late seventies and early eighties punk, Blondie is an integral part of the scene. I found that I was unknowingly and intimately familiar with all of her hits through movies such as Trainspotting, where songs like “Atomic” are featured alongside hits from other important early punk rockers like Iggy Pop. Anyhow, I felt it necessary to my well-being as a music enthusiast and a nerd to check out their live show despite missing their prime by twenty or so years - I’m twenty-four, mind you.
Blondie’s live show was interesting, to say the least, because she had to step up in terms of visuals - Devo is known by their intricate pairing of visual cues and signature costumes. Her bright yellow coat with a tall, popped collar reminds me of something that would exist in the Back to the Future year 2015. If you’re not familiar then get outta here, you should probably catch Back to the Future Part II before you ask your friends what I’m getting at.
Harry was as sassy as any 67-year-old punk rocker could be, minus the superhuman Iggy as seen at Riot Fest. Harry was not spot-on, but she still maintained the attitude and sound of the classic punk scene. The sound, whether intentional or not, also harkened back to similar production of the time. All right, not quite that bad, but not the best. As expected I did get to hear her hits “Call Me,” “Atomic,” “One Way or Another,” and “Heart of Glass,” so I wasn’t let down.
Devo’s “75-minute set,” as stated on the set-list, was perfect, albeit with some room for improvisation (although I imagine most of their performance is planned thoroughly). Devo opened with “Don’t Shoot (I'm A Man),” a song from their 2010 release Something for Everybody. Devo sliced through a fresh set of tunes completing a list of their most recent singles. Once the band transitioned to their “blue hats set” and they donned their blue energy domes, shit got real. They played my personal favorite “Girl U Want” from their classic album “Freedom Of Choice,” and I don’t even need to state what other notable song they played in the blue hats set. In case you’re not at all familiar with Devo that’d be “Whip It.”
Their choice of popular songs early in their set almost implies that they were letting the not-so-hardcore Devo nerds off the hook early and cleared the way for the final portion of their set.
The last portion of their set began with an excerpt from a Carl Sagan video about the universe and opened with their version of the Rolling Stones classic “Satisfaction.” “Satisfaction” along with the rest of the material from their first album Q: Are We Not Men? A:We Are Devo was produced by Brian Eno - think Coldplay, Talking Heads, and U2. The album was recorded for Warner Bros. Records following recommendations from Iggy Pop and David Bowie.
Following “Satisfaction,” Devo played Johnny Rivers song “Secret Agent,” another one of their famous covers which is also on the Q:Are We Not Men? A:We Are Devo album.
The night came to a climax when Mark Mothersbaugh jumped around the stage, ripping apart the other band members’ yellow jumpsuits during “Uncontrollable Urge.” Devo continued their rant through the Q:Are We Not Men? A:We Are Devo album with “Mongoloid” and “Jocko Homo,” but finished the night with some tracks from the “Freedom of Choice” album. The encore consisted of the song Freedom of Choice and Booji Boy’s performance of “Beautiful World.”
Peek A Boo
What We Do
Girl U Want
Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA
Gates Of Steel
Freedom Of Choice