Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Rock On

A long time ago, in a galaxy much like this one, since it is this one, I read a review of a DEVO show that included a pithy comment about there being no guitar solos at a DEVO concert. As a fan, I took immediate exception to this since I was aware of at least one from the show the reviewer was referencing, and have always enjoyed the crunchy guitar riffs of Bob Mothersbaugh. While I understand that the public at large will remember the DEVO's catalog as synth-heavy, that's not what I recall.
Maybe that's why I so thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Spudboys from Akron on their Hardcore Tour last week. They only played songs from their earliest recordings, some forty years ago. Yes, there were some keyboards, but mostly they were playing drums and guitars in new and confounding ways, like their cover of the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction." As they have related for years in interviews, they made it hard for themselves to get booked into bars that were looking for bands that sounded like Foghat. They sure didn't look like Foghat. I never went to see Foghat play live. I've been going to see DEVO when they came to my town for more than thirty years.
I wore my souvenir T-shirt from that first show when I went with my wife and son to see what was more than just a revival, it was a memorial. The other Bob in DEVO, Bob Casale, had passed away earlier this year and the tour was organized as a tribute to him and part of the proceeds were being passed along to his family. I was pleased and happy to support the cause, though it was odd to see just four members of the band on stage. DEVO waited until the very last song of the show to mention Bob 2's absence, and when they played "Clockout," they invited Bob's son Alex out to play bass as his father had so many years ago. Mark played keyboards. Jerry sang. Alan Myers wasn't there to play drums, having left the planet just ahead of Bob 2 on their tour of the universe. Josh Freese was behind the kit, as he has been for almost twenty years. And Bob 1 was playing guitar. In their own peculiar way, they rocked the house. I don't remember the synths. I remember the guitars.

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