Skip to content

Wire At The Drill Festival At The Echoplex, Saturday April 1st 2017



Wire, the highly influential UK band, was headlining the Drill Festival at the Echoplex on Saturday, and if I attended only one day of the 3-day festival, I obviously picked Saturday, the day they were playing. The band formed in 1976 and played for the first time at London‘s Roxy club on April 1st 1977, so Saturday’s performance was day for day the 40th anniversary of their proper debut. 40 years? This sounded totally ridiculous, as Colin Newman said at one point of the show, but a sign of greatness when, forty years later, you still can relate to something you have composed when you were in your 20s.

If everyone was there to see Wire, the long evening started with four different bands, and different is the right word as their respective sounds couldn’t have been more eclectic. Once and Future Band was very jazzy, in a sort of Steely Dan manner, at least their singer’s vocals were reminiscent, while the compositions were decorated with a wobbling double keyboard and prog-style guitar solos. I got a very 80s vibe, and they became jazzier and jazzier as the set progressed, getting mellow at moment, and navigating between jazz and a movie soundtrack.

Mild High Club got people in a completely different mood with sweet melodies by Alex Brettin, Ariel Pink and Mac DeMarco’s touring mate… and this detail may help give an idea of the music. It was more than just sweet, the atmosphere was slow with repetitive guitars and the cuteness of the 60-70’s going through some lazy and kaleidoscopic remake, in the sense that this was the type of music you would listen while laying on a sunny beach. A few songs had a sleepy Brazilian bossa nova smoothness going through a cloud of weed… as a matter of fact I remember smelling some during their set.

In case you had fallen asleep during Mild High Club’s set, Youth Code was there to wake you up with a punch in the stomach and a drill going through the skull. We were at the Drill Festival after all and their set was as intense as it was disturbing. Singer Sara Taylor was hurling, yelling, screaming, going into the most aggressive mode, bouncing on stage, jumping with a hardcore anger over the industrial beats of Ryan George standing behind her electronic table and sporadically adding his own aggression to their Rob Zombie horror show. They call their music EBM, Electronic Body Music, and it surely was a tough, tattoo-shaking work-out.

Julia Holter drastically calmed down the mood with her slow and desolated piano pieces. She seemed to speak her own language, living in her own world, sitting behind her piano, and being hardly visible, playing music out of genres, out of time. It was a quiet and peaceful set but also very sad with one or two hooks but mostly pretty mysterious compositions, between classic music and avant-garde, some convoluted weirdness wrapping her very beautiful voice

I am not gonna lie, I was not listening to Wire in 77 or even a bit later, I have a lot to catch up with them, as they never went mainstream where I lived, and when you are a kid, you only are aware of mainstream. However, as they started playing, I could hear a sound that was not totally unfamiliar, some reminiscence of Joy Division, New Order, R.E.M. and even some most recent bands. Wire’s sound is difficult to pinpoint, a brand of art punk with tough guitars and infectious dance-y pop hooks, getting very obvious during their recent song ‘Diamonds in Cups’ (they actually played many songs of their 2017 release ‘Silver/Lead’) contrasting with a slow, Velvet Underground-throb of ‘This Time’, then accelerating a bit into the monochord outburst of their bullet-song, ‘Three Girl Rhumba’, one of the tunes they played during their first gig ever.

Colin Newman on guitar and Graham Lewis on bass shared the vocals, and while the band played their razor-sharp songs with surprising chords and oblique detours in a very tight manner, the four members stayed far apart all set long, with Matthew Simms, the most recent addition to the band, standing in the extreme right of the stage, and adding layers to the already complex fabric, and Robert Grey only showing the tip of his bald head behind the drumset.

When he was on vocals, Newman had this solemn-morose tone, bent on his guitar most of the time, while Lewis kept his angry bulldog stare all-night long and took his most post-apocalyptic voice when he started singing. They installed chaos in a very efficient way during ‘Underwater Experiences’, or ‘Stealth of a Stork’, two surprisingly recent songs, respectively from their 2011 EP ‘Strays’ and their 2013 album ‘Change Becomes us’, which probably could have been written at any time during their long career.

They had reserved a big surprise for the end of the show, a massive rendition of ‘Pink Flag’, their 1977 song, bringing many guitarists on stage to strum the chords at the same time, as the Pinkflag Guitar Orchestra …. We recognized Jason Faulkner on the right, but there were undoubtedly a few other celebs in the pack. The power that these 30 or 40 musicians released on stage was unbelievable and gave us a formidable experience.

Wire’s guitar textures are dense and barely similar from one song to the next, they click and jump, they throb and shake through a wall of fuzz, they dance and penetrate your skull, but it is not noise, the melodies surface with grandiosity, wrapped with mystery, the mystery of compositions which transcend genres and time.

Boiling Boy
Diamonds in Cups
An Alibi
This Time
Three Girl Rhumba
Art of Persistence
Underwater Experiences
Red Bark Trees
Small Black Reptile
Keep Exhaling
Split your Ends
Playing Harp for the Fishes
Short Elevated Period
Over Theirs
Stealth of a Stork
Pink Flag


More pictures here for Once and Future BandMild High ClubYouth Code, Julia Holter, Wire

Once and Future Band

Mild High Club

Youth Code

Julia Holter


The Pinkflag Guitar Orchestra

A post shared by Alyson Camus (@alysoncamus) on

A post shared by Alyson Camus (@alysoncamus) on

Leave a Comment


Support Let Me Help Inc by shopping at

The Daisy Jopling Band To Perform “Who’s Who” At The Transfiguration Church In Tarrytown, NY Sunday May 12th, 2024 7 PM ET

By admin | May 9, 2024 |

The Transfiguration Church in Tarrytown, New York Presents “Who’s Who”, original violin arrangements of iconic songs by The Who performed by the Daisy Jopling Band featuring the Sleepy Hollow High School Chamber Orchestra on Sunday, May 12th, 2024. Location: Transfiguration Church 268 South Broadway Tarrytown, NY 10591 United States Tickets are $25 and can be…

Cyborg Drummer/DJ DRMAGDN Headlining Montauk Music Fest

By admin | April 9, 2024 |

Major Label BMG Records Artist & Producer DRMAGDN Cyborg Drummer / DJ will be making his Montauk Music Fest debut this year in May. DRMAGDN will be the Official Host & MC of The Montauk Music Fest plus play headlining sets on Friday 5/17 and Saturday 5/18 from 10pm-12am at Gurney’s Montauk Resort (290 Old…

RED CARPET EVENT @ Chelsea Table & Stage 4/12/24 Featuring THE AMERICAN RELICS & DRMAGDN

By admin | March 25, 2024 |

On Friday April 12th, 2024 beginning at 6:30 pm ET  there will be a Red Carpet event pre-show sponsored by Tribeca Records at the trendy nightspot Chelsea Table and Stage located in the heart of Chelsea at 152 west 26th street (inside the Hilton Fashion Hotel) in NYC. The Red Carpet will be followed by…

Live Review: Composer Randy Edelman Live at Chelsea T&S “2nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Massacre” 03/16/24 and Record Release in NYC

By admin | March 17, 2024 |

There was an infinite vitality of velvet green flowing deliciously through the air as Composer Randy Edelman presented his 2nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Massacre at the trendy new nightspot Chelsea Table & Stage in the heart of NYC on March 16, 2024….. a vivacious close to the spirited Irish Parade. His music is the…

DRMAGDN: Cyborg Drummer/DJ Debuts @ Chelsea T&S With Retro 80’s Party & Red Carpet Event 4/12/24

By admin | February 29, 2024 |

BMG recording artist, producer and World renowned, Global Touring Electrifying Powerhouse, DRMAGDN: Cyborg Drummer and DJ will make his debut at the popular, trendy night spot Chelsea Table & Stage (located at 152 west 26th street inside the Hilton Hotel) on  Friday April 12, 2024 @ 9:00PM. DRMAGDN will be celebrating his high energy brand of Electronic Dance Music (EDM)…

Going Steady: New Singles 2-23-24- 2-29-24 Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | February 26, 2024 |

dance pop, gooey confection

US Top Ten Albums Tracking 2-16-24 – 2-22-24

By Iman Lababedi | February 26, 2024 |

75K EAUs is abysmal

Our Friend Tony Orlando’s Farewell Tour

By admin | February 25, 2024 |

“I still hit the ball, I just can’t run the bases!!!”

Sneak Peaks: New Album releases 3-1-24 – 3-7-24

By Iman Lababedi | February 25, 2024 |

contenders for the best punk rock around

Child Bite, Lamb Of God, Pantera At Madison Square Garden, Thursday, February 22nd, 2024, Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | February 25, 2024 |

A three hours of hard rock, metal not metal, swift, loud, egoless pure metal

Scroll To Top