There was a huge shift between sets at this Black Cat show. Once Bear in Heaven concluded a surprisingly aggressive performance, easily 75% of audience members under the age of thirty migrated toward the bar, leaving everyone else to huddle forward. It’s clear that Wire are important to each person in the room, but important in different ways. For the younger set, Wire are inherently important because they’re important to almost every band they like, including Bear in Heaven (“Your favorite band’s favorite band,” right?). And while there are certainly some who haven’t heard of one of the two bands, there are kids who came with their parents, and parents dragged along by their kids.
Whoever you may have come to see, there’s no doubt you were impressed. Bear in Heaven wowed lifelong Wire fans with sounds that were somehow simultaneously ambient and aggressive, including a new song that might have elicited more dancing than old favorites. And Wire? What’s there to be said about a legendary band who has the guts to return to the stage, and does it well? Sure, there was an iPad present to assist with some of the lyrics. And yes, when prompted to ditch the setlist and play “One Of Us,” Colin Newman agreed that it was time for the song to make a comeback, but it was nowhere near ready.
But the crowd was quick to forgive– and why wouldn’t they be? Wire killed the performance, and for a first time listener, it felt as if it was okay we hadn’t been around for the first round, because this was a merciless and fulfilling show. The eight year old next to me moved away from his dad to be pressed up against a monitor, and oogled Graham Lewis as you’d expect him to do with anyone getting airplay in 2013. He’s a lucky kid. Wire’s return is something to be happy about. No legacies have been shamed, no discographies have been marred: this is a very good thing, and we’re lucky to have been there.