This gig was part of the Recon festival, based in Leeds and Bradford, showcasing innovators and experimenters in music and other art forms. Gang of Four took to the stage at about 21:50 and started with ‘You’ll Never Pay For The Farm’ from their 2011 CD Content. A couple of tracks from their first LP Entertainment followed, the first was an electrifying version of ‘Ether’ with some magnificent Bass playing from Thomas McNeice followed by ‘Not Great Men’. During the pause before the next song new singer Jon Gaolor said how you all doing, alright? and someone behind me shouted out How old are you? which was probably a fair question as he didn’t look much older than his mid twenties. He had plenty of energy though constantly on the move from one microphone to another, diving across the stage to the nearest other mic when he knocked the current one out of position. He kept Al, the guitar tech constantly on his feet sorting the mic stands out, plugging leads back in and untangling cables as both Jon and Thomas bounded round the stage. ‘I Parade Myself’ from 100 Flowers Bloom was followed by Paralysed from Solid Gold and as the intro to ‘Anthrax started some idiot next to me started screaming fairly constantly for most of the track. Andy changed guitars before the start and threw it on the stage and generally abused it half way through the song. A couple of new songs from Content were next, Al put an extra mic onstage which produced the electronically distorted vocals for ‘It Was Never Going To Turn Out Too Good’ which was followed by ‘Do As I Say’ which I liked the best of the newer songs. It was back to Entertainment with their trademark choppy guitar for ‘Damaged Goods’ followed by ‘I Love A Man In Uniform’ and ‘We Live As We Dream, Alone’ from Songs of the free which was followed by ‘To Hell With Poverty!’ and the set closed with another song from Entertainment, ‘Return The Gift’.
They left the stage for about five minutes and Al brought in a (new) microwave still partially wrapped in plastic and put it on a box just to the side of the drum kit. When the band came back on stage Jon had a 2 foot long wooden stick and he started marking time, bashing the top of the microwave as the first encore, He’d Send In The Army’ started. The band had been a little subdued most of the main set but Thomas was jumping around the stage like there was no tomorrow now getting stage lights caught up in the bass lead and dragging them around behind him. He sent Jon’s mic flying and Al was kept busy for a few minutes sorting it all out. By the time Army was finished the microwave door was hanging off and the top was completely caved in, A couple more from Solid Gold, ‘What We All Want’ and ‘Why Theory?’ and then it was the end of the gig with ‘At Home He’s A Tourist.
I really enjoyed this gig, a good selection of old and new stuff and some great bass playing from Thomas. Andy’s guitar was low in the mix at the start of the gig and people were shouting at him to turn it up. Jon was Ok with the vocals and was running round from one mic to another for the whole 80 minutes but the fact remains that a large chunk of the crowd were not happy that Jon King was not fronting the band even though as an MD of an advertising company nowadays he just does not have the time to commit to the band any more. Quite a few people left before the end, some as early as 20 minutes into the set and there were a few negative posts to the bands facebook page after the gig.
Gig Preview in the Yorkshire Evening Post:
Audience recording of the gig:
Gang of Four Facebook page:
Gang of Four Website: