Gig review: Wire, Glasgow

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Devotees of BBC4’s Top Of The Pops repeats will appreciate that 1978 was a pretty fertile year for post-punk weirdos crashing the charts.

Wire - King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow

* * * *

A good number of artists to emerge at that time have remained at, or returned to, the coalface, satisfying fan nostalgia while also, in some cases, releasing interesting new material.

Of these influential acts, Wire are probably the most hardcore and bloody-minded. They are not ones to truck with crowd-pleasing sets stuffed full of 35-year-old greatest non-hits, which is probably why they are playing King Tut’s while their peers fill larger halls.

Younger so-called alternative bands could learn from commanding, controlled, uncompromising sets such as this one, which adopted a moody, broody, almost gothic tone for much of the time, with frontman Colin Newman’s swooning, sonorous guitar work complemented by Julian Cope collaborator Thighpaulsandra on keyboards.

Bassist Graham Lewis’s occasional marvellously lugubrious vocal turns rubbed up dynamically against Newman’s resonating guitar and his thornier delivery as the band steadily upped the momentum and tightened the screws. The setlist was an education, drawing on all eras of Wire. Eventually, they threw the crowd a beloved old bone in the form of headlong dash Another The Letter from their Chairs Missing album. The lyrical Map Ref 41˚N 93˚W was even better, but they sounded every bit as charged and relevant encoring with the more recent 23 Years Too Late.