Gig preview: Wire, Brudenell Social Club

Wire.  Photo: Phil Sharp
Wire. Photo: Phil Sharp
Have your say

They are one of the most influential rock groups of the late-1970s, and have inspired bands as diverse as REM, Manic Street Preachers, My Bloody Valentine, Interpol and Minor Threat.

Formed in 1976, Wire has been characterised by their absolute refusal to be pigeonholed or defined by their past achievements.

“Our aim from day one was to be a contemporary band and we’ve really stuck to that all the way through as a project,” says vocalist and guitarist, Colin Newman.

For Colin, music is something that needs to be exciting and evolving.

“Formalism in music is what kills it. When people start breaking the rule, that’s when it gets exciting,” he says.

After the release of their debut album Pink Flag in 1977, Wire became a cult hit with the American hard-core punk scene.

“That was more of a fluke of distribution than anything else,” says Colin. “A lot of the British music from that period didn’t get American releases. They got the Sex Pistols, but there wasn’t a lot more that came out in America from Britain.

“I got the impression the people in America saw the Sex Pistols as being style over substance. For a lot of Americans, they didn’t come across as being very real – they saw them as a bit of a cartoon.

“The initial reactions to Wire were even worse – people thought we couldn’t play and that we didn’t have any proper songs, but for that generation it was something different and exciting,” Colin added.

From the no-nonsense rock of their debut, Wire’s sound became increasingly complex, with layered guitar effects, the inclusion of synthesizers and innovative song structures.

When they perform live, Wire aren’t the type of band to stick to a tried and tested set of popular songs and fan favourites.

“Putting together a live set for Wire takes the complete opposite of the focus group approach,” says Colin. “If something has become boring to play, we drop it, it doesn’t matter how famous it is. If we can’t make it sound good, it’s pointless.

“Performing live is about something different to a record. A record has to stand repeated listens – that’s the whole point. But a live performance is all about the moment.”

Sep 19, Brudenell Social Club, 7.30pm, £14.50 (stbf)

Sparks last performed in Leeds in 1975. Picture: Philippe Mazzoni

Sparks set to fly as band announce city gig