WIRE : XOYO, London - 23rd November 2011 (Live recording)

I've been fortunate enough to see the mighty Wire twice this year - initially, back in February, at Nottingham's revitalised Rescue Rooms &, more recently, at Sheffield's so-so Plug earlier this month. They were were terrific on both occasions - they're back on undeniably great form at the moment - & both shows were encouragingly well attended too (on the back of their latest, marvelous Red Barked Tree LP, no doubt). Though, in every Wire crowd, there are always one or two elderly lags in Stiff Little Fingers shirts who persist in knocking back an excess of gassy lager & bellowing for "12XU" like it's still 1979, Wire reject such antediluvian requests outright these days, concentrating instead on current material & surprising selections from far flung corners of their prodigious back catalogue - & they're sounding all the better for it.

February's Nottingham set list focussed on their most recent brace of albums, Red Barked Tree (their finest full length work since 154 - fact), Object 47 & Send, with a handful of older numbers dotted throughout (i.e. "Kidney Bingos" & the perennial "Boiling Boy"). The current tour CD, Black Sessions (recorded last May for Bernard Lenoir's celebrated French Inter radio show, & released generally on 7th February), features a very similar song sequence. The Sheffield show, however, was quite staggering. Drawing extensively on their "difficult" 1980, post-Harvest era, Wire found room for half a dozen rarely aired tracks from Document & Eyewitness, & a further handful from subsequent archival collections like Behind The Curtain / Turns & Strokes. Conjecture suggests that, as the majority of those songs have never been attempted properly before (by Wire, at least - Colin Newman utilised a few of them on his early solo LPs, albeit in radically rearranged versions) the current line-up might be about to finally record them. Quizzed as to what the band would be up to in the coming year, Graham Lewis has confided that an "unusual" new project is already underway - leading to speculation that Wire might finally be in the process of provisionally assembling their aborted 4th Harvest LP. The possibility of both complete live sets from Document & Eyewitness being released has also been discussed - the controversial Electric Ballroom performance only ever having been available in severely truncated form until now, of course. All in all, 2012 sounds like a very exciting 12 months for the rabid Wire aficionado.

To whet your appetite, here's a decent recording of Wire's recent London show (23rd November at XOYO), featuring exactly the same set I saw them play in Sheffield. I discovered it during one of my occasional expeditions "off-road" into the murkier recesses of the 'net so I've no idea who's responsible, but many thanks to he/she/they anyway...

● 23112011

n.b. Photographs by Steve Worral, from Wire's performance at Ray Davies' Meltdown, June 2011.


  1. thanx so much for this!

  2. Cheers BCR... it's Christmas after all!

  3. Love it. Excellent work both yourself and nameless taper - tho we thought that Nottingham gig was a little ragged (poor Matt's amp troubles didn't help) :-)

    Stefan M—

  4. Oops, I'd forgotten about the exploding amp scenario... Still a great show though, & a BUSY one too. Wire are so good at the moment, I'd happily pay to see 'em on a weekly basis!

  5. Anonymous29.12.11

    can i just pop this here for a bit?..



  6. A mate sent me a pic of him with some bloke asking if I recognised him. I guessed wrong but turns out it was Colin Newman backstage after a recent show.

    Like yourself he's raving about the last three albums and in particular Red Barked Tree but also said the set included Map Ref, Two People In A Room & Pink Flag.

    Must dig out Manscape...

  7. Yep, all 3 of those are on the Xoyo setlist too (& were played at the recent show I attended). Send/Object 47 are both v.good, but Red Barked Tree is simply excellent - great songs, well produced.

    Never quite got my head 'round Manscape! I still have it on vinyl so I might dig it out for re-evaluation while I'm still on holiday? I can imagine they'd do a much better job of nailing those songs now than they did then though - perhaps they should have a crack at them once the D&EW stuff's been put to bed? I seem to remember it labours under several too many layers of extraneous hi-tech fannying about? I haven't played it in years though, so I'm probably mistaken...

  8. Hiya. I am long time Wire fan and was really pleased by the quality of the performance at the XOYO gig as I'd seen John Foxx there a few weeks before and it all sounded just a little muted and probably wasn't his fault. However, this was a great gig and the support act was really good too. Yes, Matt had problems with his pedals and had to switch to a basic one but Graham's bass effects usually make up for any of Mr Gilbert's missing feedback. Colin, as always turns up for a chat before the gig, which is good for us anal retentive devotees.
    As for Manscape, I think it has great songs on it, in particular "Small Black Reptile". The LP was of its time when both the Berlin Wall and the economic greedy Wall Street/Stock Exchange of the Thatcher/Reagan years was about to come crashing down. In a way it was sad that it lead on to Robert leaving the band before the far more pseudo-house of The First Letter appeared. Could I suggest we have "Nice From Here" b side of "So and Slow It Grows" on here as a little tribute to Wire's inventive past (and not the usual Harvest punky wunky stuff). Oh by the way, is it your good self is after a copy of "Spook Sex" by Heartbeat. Because, I have it on mp3!! Splash.

  9. I'll be reinvestigating Mansscape as soon as I have my new turntable set up, it's been AGES since I heard it, & though I don't recall being particularly fond of it, perhaps my opinion will have mellowed?

    I've been meaning to post a bundle of Wire's odds & ends for some time now &, yes, "Nice From Here" will definitely be included. I'll start work on it this weekend...

    Wow, yes, if you can furnish me with an mp3 of that Spook Sex I'd be MASSIVELY grateful!* As far as I know, it's the only (officially released) D.Henderson track I've not heard, & I've offered wondered if they recorded anything else? Did they ever play live, do you know?

    (*My email = rooksby at rocketmail dot com)

  10. Bodhi Amol5.7.13

    hello thanks for your sharing,but you mentioned more Wire raities you were willing to offer...
    Do you still have something up your sleeve for the future?
    Regards,Bodhi Amol

  11. OK... more Wire next.