Gang of Four (Photo art courtesy of Matador Records)
Last year, Matador Records released GANG OF FOUR: 77-81, a stunning, limited edition box set curated by Jon King, Hugo Burnham, and Dave Allen gathering Gang of Four’s indelible early work. This followed the death the year previous of Gang of Four’s influential guitarist, Andy Gill.
Gang of Four now reunite to celebrate their legacy with a US tour that includes a stop at Black Cat on Wednesday, March 9.
Gang of Four was formed in Leeds, England, in 1976 by bassist Allen, Burnham, Gill, and King. The band pioneered a style of music that inverted punk’s blunt and explosive energies — favoring tense rhythms, percussive guitars, and lyrics that traded in Marxist theory and situationism. They put every element of the traditional “rock band” format to question, from notions of harmony and rhythm to presentation and performance.
This original lineup of the band released two monumental albums, Entertainment! (1979) and Solid Gold (1981). A third, Songs of the Free (1982), was recorded with bassist Sara Lee replacing Dave Allen. After Songs Of The Free, Burnham departed the band and Andy Gill and Jon King continued on to release Hard in 1983. After this release, the band broke up. In 2004, the original quartet reformed for tour dates and released Return The Gift (2005).
Gill gathered some touring musicians as Gang of Four in the years prior to his death, but this exciting tour features the return of the inimitable and icon vocalist Jon King, and thus should not be missed! (Gang of Four has replaced the late Mr. Gill with guitarist David Pajo, and Allen misses out on this USA tour as well, although he is replaced by his ’80s-era stand-in Sara Lee on bass.)
Watch the official music video for “Damaged Goods” by Gang of Four on YouTube:
For the tour, Gang of Four draws upon material showcased in Matador’s 77-81 box set of early material. The collection boasts a double LP of the “never officially released” Live at American Indian Center 1980 as well as remastered versions of Entertainment!and Solid Gold.
In the last few years, Gang of Four’s songs have continued to resonate with and been sampled by artists far afield from post-punk, including Run the Jewels (“The Ground Below”) and Frank Ocean (“Futura Free”). Now 40 years since the original release of Entertainment!, Gang of Four’s legacy cannot be overstated.
Gang of Four
W/ Exotiq Intl
Wednesday, March 9
Doors @ 7:30pm