Gang of Four tonight – 13 years after our Blue Cheer post last night and several incarnations of musical history during that time. Both represented a revolution in music – both were ahead of their time, but technology had changed by light years, as had the basic makeup of the Music Business itself. Whereas Blue Cheer didn’t achieve the wide recognition they deserved, Gang of Four were recognized as one of the leading lights of the Post-Punk movement, signaling a change of direction, while still maintaining their biting edge with regards to political/social statements. And that steadfast focus on social consciousness made them controversial, getting their releases occasionally banned from the BBC.
In the U.S. we were slow to warm to social consciousness in music during this time. The Vietnam War was over and we had just gotten through Watergate – our social consciousness was going on in urban centers; cities in the midst of decay. Punk was an approximation of what was going on in the UK, but there were no similarities. Our poverty and hopelessness came in the inner city and it was primarily along racial lines. Americas music of protest and social consciousness in the 1970s manifested itself in Rap – and that would be a whole other story and a whole new dominant force.
But tonight it’s Gang of Four during one of their early U.S. tours, getting the feel for American audiences, particularly audiences on the West Coast, and the Bay area in particular. Rough, raw and unapologetic – Gang of Four made their mark here, and they would for most of the decade of the 80s.
Crank it up and celebrate the middle of the week.