03 August 2008

Devo at Festival Hall Melbourne 31 July 2008

OK, so on Thursday night I went and saw Devo at Festival Hall, otherwise known as Festering Hole. I had a great time.

For those who don't know, Devo are my favourite band ever, and for those who do, you're probably sick of hearing about it. But having never seen Devo live before, I didn't really know what to expect.

I got into Devo quite young - I suppose that to a kid in second grade, a band wearing red hats that look like flowerpots (yes, I know that they're called "energy domes") is sensational - but it was only when I reached university age that I suddenly put two and two together on some of the songs. Particularly the really snigger-worthy ones such as "Uncontrollable urge" and even "Girl u want". Or even the single-entendre of "Penetration in the centrefold".

And having not been to a gig at Festival Hall for close to 10 years (yes, it's been that long) I suppose that I had forgotten exactly how loud the PA in there actually is.

We tried to get there early enough to catch Eddy Current Suppression Ring but sadly we missed them. It's a pity - I hear that they did a great set.

Next up was Regurgitator, who are always good live. And even though they mixed up their set to include old and new, they chose to concentrate quite a lot on their second album, Unit. Not really surprising, given that Unit was so incredibly 80s sounding. The all-white Abba look was strikingly effective as well.

Devo came out and ripped into "Good thing" after a short spiel by General Boy, and a few snippets from their back catalog of music videos. It was pretty good.

I suppose that I was expecting something more synth heavy, and something more approaching a greatest hits package, but what I wasn't prepared for was the sheer volume of the gig. It was brutally fucking loud. They also managed to get the more synthy songs out of the way early so that Jerry could pick up his bass and Bob #2 could transfer to guitar and just spend the rest of the set rocking out.

But anyway, in as best an order as what I remember, here are as many tunes as what I can remember they played:

  • That's good
  • Peek-a-boo
  • Girl u want
  • Whip it
  • Going under
  • Smart patrol/Mr DNA
  • Uncontrollable urge
  • Secret agent man
  • (I can't get no) Satisfaction
  • Gut feeling/Slap your mammy
  • Jocko homo
  • Blockhead
  • Mongoloid
  • Devo corporate anthem
  • Freedom of choice
  • Beautiful world

I was most surprised that their cover of "Secret agent man", as well as "Uncontrollable urge" and "Going under" got played. And they worked quite well.

Sadly, though, they chose to close with "Beautiful world" with Booji Boy on lead vocals, which didn't really work. I admit that they needed a Booji Boy slot for completeness, but it should have been a different tune. "Beautiful world" is probably the most sarcastic song ever written, and maybe it occasionally needs Booji Boy to accentuate the sarcasm in some parts of the world. But the Australian sense of humour is largely rooted in sarcasm so handing this to Booji Boy to do might have been a little over the top.

But you know the best part of this gig - no mosh pit!

Anyway, it's two days after the gig and I still have a ringing in my ears. So I must have enjoyed it.

Here's a few videos of the gig as posted to YouTube:

1. Collage of various tunes (sound quality OK)

Includes bits of "Uncontrollable urge", "Mongoloid", "Jocko homo", "Devo corporate anthem", "Freedom of choice" and "Beautiful world"

2. "Whip it" (sound quality passable)

3. "Going under" (sound quality barely rateable)

4. "Mongoloid" (sound quality rubbish)

5. "Girl u want" (sound quality not much better)

Hope that you enjoyed this.


Anonymous said...

Are we not men? WE ARE DEVO!

(Can't get no) Satisfaction is, without doubt, the greatest cover tune ever - and I've still got the original Stiff Records 7" single of Mongoloid / Jocko Homo. Not For Sale. ;)

Me, I'm still spitting mad that I missed Tom Waits' first Scottish gig in 21 years last weekend...

Dikkii said...

Yeah, their cover of Satisfaction is pretty good, although I'd almost contend that their cover of Secret Agent Man is nearly as good.

Hugely jealous of your original Stiff Records single. I can't say I've got anything that rare.

Tom Waits is back on the road is he? I must admit, I only really know his work on Swordfishtrombones, Bone Machine and Mule Variations, but they're all totally good value.

Anonymous said...

I'd totally recommend picking up "Nighthawks at the Diner" (1975) - much more of a jazz cabaret sort of feel. I have to admit, I don't know the rest of his material that well - I've only got Swordfishtrombones, Beautiful Maladies, Heartattack And Vine, and the aforementioned Nighthawks...

Dikkii said...

I'm reliably informed that most of his stuff prior to Swordfishtrombones is almost completely different to the stuff that he's done since. I probably should check it out.

Anonymous said...

I must admit I don't really get Devo, past the "ooh silly band!" gimmick, but clearly Maynard gets them (as your clearly do) - he named his son after them.

Which brings me to my next, related point, which is that I will give you A$500 if you officially name your firstborn Devo Webb.

Dikkii said...

Taj, it wasn't until Uni that I realised that there was a contextual thread to the "silly band gimmick" that you so accurately describe.

Maynard did what??!?

This practice that celebs have of giving their kids frigged names has to cease. I may be a Devo fan, but I'm not sure that AUD 500 is adequate compensation for the amount of teasing that Dikkii jnr would cop in the playground for that.

Plus it would open me up to allegations of hypocrisy. I'm already fighting off enough of those.

Anonymous said...

Yup, he did. Devo Keenan.

$1000 for Devotism Webb.

Dikkii said...

You're getting warmer, Taj. This begs the question, I suppose: At what point will I cave in to the allure of filthy lucre?

And is this the same as a bet?