So what sucks here is I have no right even posting this because the Gang of Four have been here TWICE in the past two years and I have missed both shows. Therefore I cannot whine anymore about the festival at Comprade Stadium in the 1990s when Gang of 4, Public Enemy and Sisters of Mercy were supposed to play before the event was cancelled. I’ve had my opportunities. Work was the reason both times and yes, in my forties it is a lot harder to go to a weeknight show because I am worthless the next day. Just an excuse though because the fact is the original four of singer Jon King, guitarist Andy Gill, bass guitarist Dave Allen and drummer Hugo Burnham created two great albums and the exceptional 1981 Another Day/Another Dollar EP with their 1981 sophomore effort Solid Gold still in my all-time Top Ten for albums. I NEED to see this band live!
It is rare that a band can create music that is totally original but Gang of Four always managed to do so. They are a post punk band with an incredibly unique addition of funk and dance in the mix, but most important for this listener were those ultra intense guitar licks from Andy Gill. To this day he is still my favorite artist on the axe, attacking the guitar in a way I have never witnessed before or since. It is almost frightening at times. Add in vocals, at least on the first two albums, coming at you from three different people, and a muscular bass style that is complemented well with a steady drum beat and the formula was near perfection.
There were some good moments on the other six studio albums they created but once Dave Allen left in 1981 that initial spark and fury were missing. Hugo Burnham left in 1983 after the third album dropped and it was not until 2004 when they reunited briefly to tour multiple parts of the world, including the U.S. Today’s line-up includes Thomas McNeice on bass, John “Gaoler” Sterry on lead vocals and Tobias Humble on the drums, which leaves Gill as the sole original member. I won’t miss another opportunity to see them if I’m that lucky.
My playlist is heavy with selections from Entertainment and Solid Gold, four of five tracks from Another Day/Another Dollar and three from their third disc Songs of the Free. Sorry folks, I tried, I really did try to pick something after 1982. I always when doing one of these posts go back and listen to every album I own from the band to make sure I’m as objective as possible. Oh well. This IMHO is an amazing playlist. 🙂
Anytime I post a Gang of Four video I post this 1980 live version of “He’d Send in the Army” from the 1982 movie “Urgh! A Music War.” You are about to see why, this video clearly showcases why Andy Gill is a beast. Cheers!