Wire played at the Black Cat on Thursday night for an adoring crowd of older fans and hardcore music geeks. They are touring on their excellent new album, “Red Barked Tree”. The new album was featured heavily on Thursday night, but Wire also offered up a sampler of the many phases they have gone through in their 30+ years career. The show was an interesting blend of energy levels and quality as the many sounds of Wire don’t always fit neatly next to one another. This was my first time seeing Wire in concert; while I walked away satisfied by the show, it was not the knock-out performance I was expecting.
If Wire will be remembered for one thing, it will be that they always did things on their own terms. One of the most important bands in the punk to post-punk transition, Wire harnessed the energy of ’77 UK punk to fuel their strange creations. Along with peer-bands like Magazine and Joy Division, they helped herald in a new era of unconventional sounds. Never satisfied being pigeonholed by the critics as “this type of band” or “that type of band”, Wire shifted gears many times over the years. From punk to post-punk to pop to industrial and so on, Wire were and still are always in a state of flux. While this is the thing that makes Wire such a satisfying and exciting band to listen to at home, I’m afraid it held their live show back a little bit on Thursday.