By Chyrisse Tabone, Tampa Correspondent
Venue: The State Theatre, St. Petersburg, Florida–October 28, 2015
British band Gang of Four have been touring heavily in the U.S. this year since releasing their latest album (sans Jon King) called What Happens Next (released February 2015). Now labeled as “post-punk” or “dance-punk”, they hit the scene with their debut album Entertainment in 1979. Back then, in the U.S., we categorized them as “New Wave” since the music was danceable with funky rhythms and strong bass lines. Yes, the lyrical themes were politically astute (and still are), which made their music a lot smarter than most of the music then (and even now). I definitely enjoy this slant of “in-your-face honesty” and anti-establishment.
The Gang of Four has had member shake-ups through time but the familiar sound was always Jon King (singer/lyricist and songwriter) and Andy Gill (guitarist/songwriter). Jon King, often known for his odd use of percussion (microwave ovens and smashing things), is no longer in the band. The current line up, which includes John “Gaoler” Sterry (singer), Jonny Finnigan (drums), and Thomas McNeice (bass) creates the “new” Gang of Four, which produced its latest album. Some may criticize the latest project, which was totally composed by Gill, including all parts, but it has definite elements of the band’s former sound. All I can say is “Give it a chance.”
Rock At Night recently caught the band’s performance at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg, Florida. The warm up for the evening was The New Regime, a psych rock band hailing from Southern California. Lots of red and blue lights and thick smoke covered the stage as the band played for a good 45 minutes. The mop-haired singer would stop and speak to the audience between songs. He would constantly flip back his hair with his hand, which became a little annoying after awhile. Overall, the band was tight and the small crowd seemed to enjoy the set.
Finally, the Gang of Four played a set which included a mix of classic songs and their recent album. During the concert, Gills appeared stoic and had a commanding presence while wielding his Fender Stratocaster. He did not move a lot around the stage but his guitar playing filled the room with biting riffs, funneling all of his emotion into the strings of the guitar. Sterry grasped the microphone in the stand and grimaced with pained emotion as he belted out the songs. He played the tambourine during and moved about the stage. Dreadlock coiffed McNiece lunged with his Fender Jazz Bass and was a force to be reckoned with. Finnigan’s drumming of the band’s punky-funky grooves was tight and spot on. Overall, the band truly meshed together and the crowd, which was quite large by the time their set began, was nodding and grooving. My personal favorite: “To Hell With Poverty”.
You can check out some of the photo highlights below:
Gang of Four
Gang of Four: Andy Gill, Thomas McNeice, John “Gaoler” Sterry, Jonny Finnigan”
Where the Nightingale Sings
Not Great Men
I Parade Myself
What We All Want
Do As I Say
At Home He’s A Tourist
Isle of Dogs
To Hell With Poverty
Return the Gift
A video snippet from the State Theatre
Gang of Four – “To Hell With Poverty” – April 1981
Full Album – What Happens Next
The New Regime
The New Regime- “We Rise, We Fall”
The images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without the written permission to Rock At Night and the photographer. Use of any image is a violation of the United States and International Copyright laws.
I grew up in a household full of rock music, studied journalism in college, and then became a scientist.Although my science career has served me well, music has always played a major role in my life. I grew up reading "Creem" magazine; I play several musical instruments as a "hobby";and it seems a camera has always been in my hand. Now, I am combining what I love the most--music and photography--serving as editor of Rock At Night. My motto: life is short...no regrets. Chyrisse