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Gang of Four, Hollerado @ Music Box 2/21/11

gangoffour_xrayspx.jpg
Photo by xrayspx via flickr.
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I’m not sure if anyone but me had images of the workers in Wisconsin in their heads while Gang Of Four was in the middle of a steaming version of “To Hell With Poverty” at the Music Box, but there sure were a lot of fists in the air for the lyric “In this land/ right now/ some are insane/ and they’re in charge.” Sometimes, a coincidence of timing can make a performance of a thirty year old track positively zeitgeist-capturing.During their run from the late 1970s through the early nineties, Gang of Four really had two separate careers, each with a different audience. Their first incarnation was a four-piece band of searing intensity that offered a deconstruction of funk from a dole-age British perspective. Choppy, angular and prone to lyrics that sounded like advertising slogans, their early releases sound like a UK parallel to the Minutemen. After their second album, the rhythm section abandoned ship while guitarist Andy Gill and singer Jon King soldiered forth with a drum machine and a rotation of bass players, crafting smooth, KROQ-friendly eighties pop. Their history is now repeating itself in chronological order, as the ecstatically received 2005 reunion of the original four-piece band has been followed by another lineup of King, Gill, “and the rest.”