03-15 Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse
03-17 Houston, TX - Warehouse Live Studio
03-18 Dallas, TX - Trees
03-23 San Francisco, CA - Independent
03-24 Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre
03-25 Solana Beach, CA - Belly Up Tavern
03-28 Santa Ana, CA - Burgerama
Public Access T.V.
The band is really new, they have only released an EP called Rebounder and a 7" In the Mirror (Rough Trades), so basically they played all of those songs, including new single "Metropolis" and last single "In The Mirror".
Leeds' Gang of Four has been around since the late 70s, and since then we've seen the band change from punk rock to a dance-punk... but always with a social and political angle.
The band broke up in the late 90s, but reformed with the original lineup (singer Jon King, guitarist Andy Gill, bassist Dave Allen and drummer Hugo Burnham) for a brief two year period of 2004-2006. As of 2013, only the original guitarist, Andy Gill is in the band. Can he carry on the name, even as a 'gang of one'? Sure, much like how we are still celebrating bands like Smashing Pumpkins, The Fall, Soul Asylum, and Guns N' Roses... we still love the old stuff and we'll continue to support their new material.
If I were to compare this to a successful movie and its remake/reboot/sequel. Even if the second film is bad, you'll still have the original.... however, sometime the sequel may be just as good or better than the original.
In an interview with The Skinny, he explained it, "I think sometimes his enthusiasm was not there, perhaps sometimes – you can tell I’m carefully choosing my words here! – the lack of enthusiasm didn’t help the creative process. I think, from that point onwards I knew I wanted to make another record and embrace those opportunities very enthusiastically. I felt a number of doors had opened up."
The opportunities that Gill referenced was the ability to finally open up the singing duties to various guest stars, such as Alison Mosshart from The Kills, Robbie Furze from The Big Pink, Gail Ann Dorsey, German superstar Herbert Grönemeyer and Japanese superstar Hotei.
When it came down to it, I would rather hear a band excited about writing and recording new music than dispassionate creators.
So with a fresh lineup (singer John "Gaoler" Sterry, bassist Thomas McNeice, and drummer Jonny Finnegan) for this 2015 tour, Gang of Four begs the question "What Happens Next"?
Of the new band, I think they are good. The rarely-spoken Gaoler had a totally blank look, in true punk/goth fashion, like he is permanently depressed... but once in a while you can catch his true self breaking through, with a smile. Gaoler danced to and fro, utilized all three mics throughout their set.
Gang of Four takes a bow
I think because of all the guest stars on the latest What Happens Next record, they may have decided to only play a few tracks from the album, including "Where the Nightingale Sings", "Stranded", and "Isle of Dogs".
With a 36+ year music history, Gill and company had their pick of songs, choosing to play their popular songs like the notorious "Anthrax", "At Home He's a Tourist" (major label EMI debut single), and the controversial "I Love a Man in a Uniform" (banned by the BBC during the Falklands War).
Also, as you can see from their setlist photo, they only listed three songs - however, there was a bonus, fourth song, "I Found That Essence Rare". I believe this was meant for a double encore, but the band just chose to continue to play after "Return the Gift".
So what happens next? They're touring towards SXSW 2015 this year and will end their US show at the Burgerama show in Santa Ana. Gang of Four's latest What Happens Next is out now on Metropolis Records, be sure to catch the gang on this rare US appearance.
Gang of Four at the Varsity Theater, Minneapolis (12 Mar 2015)