Gang Of Four on the last night of the BBC 6 Music Festival in Liverpool – recorded live by BBC 6 Music on March 31, 2019.
From a recent article in Japan Times by Shaun Curran:
Formed in 1977 at a time of huge political and social upheaval in the U.K., Gang of Four took advantage of punk’s corrosion of the rules to forge a new idealized path. Everything about Gang of Four was intense and razor sharp, from the music, which used Gill’s innovative jagged guitar to create a streamlined punk sound that incorporated funk and dub, to its radical principles. School friends and former art students at Leeds University, Gill and King were post-punk’s intelligentsia, filling their interviews with Marxist and communist theory, while their songs examined the relationship between the personal and the profitable (“Damaged Goods,” arguably their best track, talks of love as a product to be traded). The 2011 album, “Content,” the band’s last with King, was packaged with samples of their own blood.
The impact of Gang of Four’s initial heyday (1977-84) far outweighs its actual success: Everyone from R.E.M. to St. Vincent has talked up the band’s influence; Frank Ocean sampled Gang of Four on his last album, “Blonde,” while “Entertainment!” is regularly cited as one of rock’s seminal works, voted as one of Rolling Stone’s best 500 albums of all time.
In January 2011, the band, now featuring Mark Heaney on drums (a band member since 2006 who had toured extensively since Burnhams departure) and Thomas McNeice on bass, released a new album, Content. Andrew Perry, writing in Britain’s Telegraph newspaper, gave it (21 January 2011) a 5-star rating and said that it was “their best record since the Seventies”, Jon Pareles, awarding the album 4 stars in a New York Times review of 25 January 2011, declared that [the band] “have reclaimed, with a vengeance, their old attack”, Dan Wilcox of KCRW (17 January 2011) said [of Content]: “Entertaining, scintillating and dangerous, the band has lost none of its explosive edge over the years.” In his Pitchfork review of the album, 26 January 2011 Stuart Berman wrote “If Gang of Four’s 2005 reformation proved they could more than hold their own against the upstarts, then Content shows that their chief concerns – the financial and psychological toll of keeping up with the Joneses – resonate all the more loudly in an Internet-accelerated era where even those on the vanguard can feel behind the times, and where the lawless, anonymous nature of online exchange threatens to overwhelm our identities. It’s thus fitting that the album’s most exuberant moment – the muscular Motown stomp “Who Am I?” – is used to soundtrack a modern-day anarchist’s existential crisis: “You can’t steal when everything is free”. Following successful tours of the US, Australia and Europe in 2011, King and Gill ceased working with each other. Gill produced, under the band name, What Happens Next, which was released in 2015.
On 20 April 2018, the band released an EP entitled Complicit, which featured the Gill Sterry line-up and was produced by Ben Hillier. January 2019 saw the release of Paper Thin, first single from forthcoming new album Happy For Now which should follow in March 2019.
Crank it up and enjoy the show.