Because I knew the promoters, I had to keep mum for a long time that Wire, a band probably in my top five of all time and one of the few with surviving members, was coming to Louisville. At the time, it was looking like the 250 person room at Zanzabar. I felt like I was perpetually tripping for weeks. Then the show manifested in to reality, and in a larger room. The Clifton Center, in many ways, felt like the perfect milieu for a band like Wire – a theater setting worthy of the band’s legacy yet musty enough to respect the band’s punk ethos and history.
Louisville’s Natives offered a blistering opening set, punctuated by the addition of fuckin’ beastmode drumming demon William Carpenter. Wire’s set was tighter and more urgent than most bands half their age, which was no surprise. They’re one of the few legacy acts who’ve consistently innovated, and they proved such by sticking to playing mostly new material from the excellent Change Becomes Us and Red Barked Tree (and a couple of new unreleased songs). However, Wire still summoned the best of their classic ’77-’79 “trifecta” with “On Returning,” “Map Reference,” and of course, an epic (in the actual sense of the term, not the Internet sense) encore of “Pink Flag.” What a treat for the approximately 500 people who got to see one of the most important bands of all time in an intimate, well-mixed room. Promoters Cropped Out and Other Side of Life work magic, man.