The Gang Of Four & Searing Chunks Of SoundTuesday, February 15, 2011
Original lineup of the Gang of Four: Jiang Qing, Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan, and Wang Hongwen.
|Jon King, Dave Allen, Andy Gill (behind), Hugo Burnham|
From Les Wiseman’s write-up in the July 1980 Vancouver Magazine, In One Ear column here are the first two paragraphs:
A friend of mine, when he goes to rock shows, chews up his ticket, tears it in half and then porks the saliva-sodden pulps into his ears to avoid discomfort and post-concertal ringing caused by excessive volume. Not exactly an aesthetically pleasing ritual, but since we know that the ringing indicates damage having been done, it is a good tip if you are in a pinch (Kraft caramels also work but are a hell to remove and tend to attract flies). Special earplugs have been designed for concertgoers, and since seeing the Gang of Four at the Commodore recently, I don’t leave home without’em (one evening of prune shriveled eardrums is enough for the wet ticket game). And I mean I’ve seen some loud shows (Alice Cooper in ’71 left me belfry-headed for three days, Magazine and Graham Parker only two day).
|The Gang of Four and Les Wiseman, right|
But, above the sheer volume of the Gang’s presentation, there is the sound of the sheet metal ripping guitar stylings of Andy Gill. The Gang of Four are a textural rhythm band, and by that I mean their music is pulses of guitar chordings in unusual rhythms, searing chunks of sound with various lengths of space between that enter your ears like soul-cleansing Drano. They are a demanding band with an alien sound that would be easy to dismiss as a bunch of electricity fetishism were it not for the fact that they rock like Bo Diddley on Mars and motivate crowd to dance like Swahilis in the middle of the grand mal (Hipsters take not: “dance music” is the operative term for the wave that was.)
I was the Wiseman friend who chewed his tickets and the picture below is of the heavy duty earplugs I eventually purchased.