Album Info

November 14, 2006
Pink Flag
Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Experimental Rock

Album Review

This double CD documents two key moments in Wire's development: their debut four-piece appearances on April 1-2, 1977 (five months before making Pink Flag), and one of their earliest U.S. shows from summer 1978, prior to the release of Chairs Missing. The Roxy was initially London's only dedicated punk rock venue and although never part of the punk scene, the band benefited from the exposure that milieu offered: at the club, Wire met Mike Thorne, who recorded their April gigs for his Roxy London WC2 compilation, brought them to EMI, and produced their first three records. In 1977, the quality of Wire's contributions to the Roxy live album ("Lowdown"; "12XU") prompted claims they had been finessed in the studio. Presented in their entirety for the first time, Wire's sets from those shows dispel that myth. Notwithstanding some juvenilia and two comedy covers ("Glad All Over"; "After Midnight"), their complete Roxy performances sound surprisingly disciplined for the shambolic punk era, proving that solid foundations were already in place for Pink Flag. By the time Wire made it to America for a mini-residency at New York's CBGB in July 1978, punk was dead and the band was moving in a radically different musical direction. The material featured here is an abridged version of a set recorded before a small audience (not at CBGB itself but in a nearby space) for broadcast on local station WPIX. Since American audiences had never seen Wire, the band uncharacteristically reprised some Pink Flag tracks. However, most of the songs come from Chairs Missing and explore exciting new territory, particularly the jagged exercises in creepy surrealism "From the Nursery" and "Practice Makes Perfect." Scant live evidence of Wire's exhilarating early phase exists; these recordings start to fill that gap, providing a vivid, fleeting snapshot of a group whose natural state was constant change.
Wilson Neate, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. The Commercial
  2. Mary Is a Dyke
  3. Too True
  4. Just Don't Care
  5. Strange
  6. Brazil
  7. It's So Obvious
  8. Three Girl Rhumba
  9. TV
  10. Straight Line
  11. Lowdown
  12. Feeling Called Love
  13. NYC
  14. After Midnight
  15. 12XU
  16. Mr Suit
  17. Glad All Over
  18. The Commercial
  19. Mary Is a Dyke
  20. Too True
  21. Just Don't Care
  22. Strange
  23. Brazil
  24. It's So Obvious
  25. Three Girl Rhumba
  26. TV
  27. Straight Line
  28. Lowdown
  29. Feeling Called Love
  30. NYC
  31. After Midnight
  32. 12XU
  33. Glad All Over
  34. Mr Suit
  35. Men 2nd
  36. Reuters
  37. 106 Beats That
  38. From the Nursery
  39. Dot Dash
  40. Another the Letter
  41. Practice Makes Perfect
  42. Marooned
  43. I Am the Fly
  44. Lowdown
  45. Mercy
  46. Outro
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