Wire, Lasers and Fast and Shit | Metro | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Wire, Lasers and Fast and Shit Critic's Choice Early Warnings (Music) Member Picks Recommended Soundboard

When: Sat., April 9, 9 p.m. 2011

Most 35-year-old bands are doing pretty well if their old songs don't make the new ones sound embarrassing. But Wireisn't just any band; their most indelible work has combined catchy pop with a cruel, knowing subversion of pop's most arresting qualities, guided by a restless refusal to settle for doing the same thing twice. So even though the alternately graceful and brutal songs on Red Barked Tree (Pink Flag) prove that the band can still match the high points in their catalog, it's disconcerting how much of the record sounds like retooled versions of older material: the tick-tock rhythm on "Clay" brings to mind a streamlined interpretation of "I Am the Fly," while the acerbically lilting "Please Take" sounds like it popped out of the same bubble as "Kidney Bingos." But tucked away at the end of the album is "Red Barked Trees," a song like nothing else in Wire's discography. Propelled by waltz-time drumming from Robert Grey and briskly strummed bouzouki and acoustic guitar, it's a sublime folk-rock tune that delivers a dry-eyed analysis of the inherent conflict between technological progress and the still-untapped offerings of the natural world. On this tour, guitarist Matt Simms joins the core Wire lineup of Grey, Colin Newman (voice, guitar), and Graham Lewis (voice, bass). —Bill Meyer

Price: $21, 18+

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