Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Phoenix Concert Theatre
Q:Are We Not Men?
A: We Are DEVO!

25 years since these freakaloids have been in Toronto. This tour is pure nostalgia for the post-boomer generation. A two-trick pony, I opted to see only one. A short set, under an hour, all of the album in the title and 3 encore songs. Just the right amount.

Part novelty-act, part innovative-performers, DEVO's camp falls in the grey area of rock'n'roll...where all the interesting shit resides.

In the dark grey area was opening act, JP Incorporated, easily the sorriest excuse I've seen for an opening act in all my days...and I've had Ron Sexsmith hoisted on me three times!

Or maybe he wasn't.

Perhaps it was high-art. Some Rip Van Winkle/Dick Van Dyke morphed performer doing faux-TV show themes and commercials to a video montage on a giant screen. He dances like Elaine in Seinfeld. The cat-calls and boos got louder as the set progressed. His shameless pandering to the audience was imbued with more bravado after each song. I think we were supposed to boo him off stage and our failure to do so makes the joke on us.

Or maybe not.

DEVO sounded good even when they weren't playing the radio hits. Thankfully it wasn't as 'electronic' as I'd feared; there's a good deal of screaming guitars and pounding drums. Complete albums, in order, is the only way to see old-timers. A novel concept, being utilized by many bands these days from Springsteen to Sparks...which should pretty well circle us around the alphabet unless Spandau Ballet decides to do Diamond live. I'll be there for that one too.

01) Uncontrollable Urge
02) (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
03) Praying Hands
04) Space Junk
05) Mongoloid
06) Jocko Homo
07) Too Much Paranoias
08) Gut Feeling
09) Slap Your Mammy
10) Come Back Jonee
11) Sloppy
12) Shrivel Up
13) Smart Patrol
14) Mr. DNA
15) Gates Of Steel

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