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WIRE @ Drill Festival LA at the Echoplex 4-1-7

Here’s my late post on Drill Festival LA, a 3 day event WIRE played and curated. Thanks again to Ellenwood EP for the tickets!  I attended most of the festival and even sat in on the soundcheck for the Pink Flag 30 guitar orchestra. I had also brought a guitar for Malka (Colin’s wife) to use, but they had enough of their own.

WIRE Pink Flag Guitar Orchestra soundcheck
WIRE Pink Flag Guitar Orchestra soundcheck

As far as influential bands go, Wire has influenced many artists even outside of music with 15 albums and counting. Plenty of more well known bands cite them as an influence, here are a few from Wikipedia: Manic Street Preachers, Sonic Youth, R.E.M., Lush, Elastica, Menswe@r, The Cure’s first album, Guided By Voices, My Bloody Valentine, Bloc Party, Futureheads, Franz Ferdinand, Blur, Johnny Marr.

According to their bio:

Although their 15th studio album is being released on the 40th anniversary of Wire’s debut, Silver/Lead has nothing to do with the past and everything to do with the future.

Not to mention many solo albums and side projects, who played Drill Festival. Colin Newman of WIRE picked out an impressive list of the ten best covers on Dummy Mag.  No mention of Elastica though, who stole from them and were sued due to their commercial success. Musically speaking, it’s hard not to steal from other bands and be original since pretty much everything’s been done.

WIRE is still influenced by other music including BRMC’s first album, noted on musicOHM:

main man Colin Newman explains the albums – and single – that have influenced him most down the years for Wire’s This Music Made Me

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - BRMCBlack Rebel Motorcycle Club – BRMC

This may seem a strange choice, but this is more about the production than the music.

I first started mixing Wire records around 2001/2. While I understood what we were trying to do conceptually, I still needed to figure out what kind of thing it should be sonically. I remember hearing Spread Your Love and thinking that’s exactly how it should sound, BIG!

I don’t think I achieved that on all of Send but certainly In The Art of Stopping was getting there…

Here’s the video for an idea of what they did:


It is a little like “Spread Your Love,” though closer to the mashup of it with Goldfrapp’s “Strict Machine.”

WIRE members were visible throughout the event, either playing in their side projects or in the audience. Fans and other musicians were free to bug them, like this guy from the Portable Infinite. One interesting sight was seeing Graham Lewis (WIRE bassist/singer) run into the Echoplex to check out Youth Code, a very loud and angsty duo. Screaming that much would wreak havoc on their vocal chords. Also, seeing Alina Bea calling her band in to play like a bunch of toddlers on the first night was funny. Tweets about the Bob Mould audience looking like Bob Mould were amusing and accurate.

Who else did I see at WIRE’s Drill Festival?

March 30th: Bob Mould, Immersion (Colin Newman, Malka Spigel), Alina Bea @ DRILL LA
March 31st: Laetitia Sadler,  FITTED (Bob Lee, Graham Lewis, Matthew Simms, Mike Watt), Chasms, Noveller @ DRILL LA
April 1st: Wire, Julia Holter, Youth Code @ DRILL LA

Packed house for @wirehq 40th anniversary show at #drillfestival2017 @theechola

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The side projects were very different from WIRE, so I see they must have very different influences within the band. Immersion was very ambient and electronic, maybe best for spacing out to. FITTED was sort of punk rock super group, though they had some sound issues.

@chasmsband are surprisingly good at @theechola One to look out for!

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Of the newer bands, I liked Chasms and Noveller – though Noveller was kind of self-indulgent.

@lipstate #noveller at @theechola “You know those guitars that are like, double guitars?”

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Laetitia Sadler is great singer/songwriter, though she didn’t need to throw in her socialist agenda in the show. Keep that stuff on Facebook.

@sadierlaetitia at @theechola #stereolab from @wirehq #drillfestival2017

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