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Devo jumps on full album bandwagon
to delightfully quirky results

Vic Theatre
Chicago, IL
November 12, 2009
Devo Devo Devo

Story and photos by Andy Argyrakis

The trend of artists performing full albums in their entirety continues to build now that Devo's followed in the footsteps of The Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., Public Enemy and several other innovators spanning multiple genres. Though the group is often filed in the novelty category (especially in America) thanks to the early MTV hit "Whip It," there's actually much more to this act than casual onlookers would typically assign.

As the group dusted off its newly remastered and reissued landmark 1979 album Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (Warner Bros.) in its entirety, it was apparent the yellow suit bearing fivesome was way ahead of the new wave trends and were actually one of that scene's early inventors. In fact, as the twelve-track epic unfolded, one could hear elements of everyone from Datarock to Wall of Voodoo, Weezer, The Sounds and even Nirvana (who covered "Turn Around") being influenced by the quirky, colorful and provocative material.

After a nearly 30-minute delay due to a malfunctioning video screen (that was eventually scrapped all together), the group got their musical rocks off to a strong start thanks to the punchy "Uncontrollable Urge," along with a keyboard-infused (albeit a bit too campy) cover of The Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." From there, fans went to the future with the bizarre "Space Junk," danced to the motorized beat of "Mongoloid," shouted alongside the call and response of "Jocko Homo" and took a trip to the dark side with "Too Much Paranoias." The surf-slanted punk rocker "Sloppy (I Saw My Baby Gettin')" paved the way for the initial finale "Shrivel-Up," perhaps that project's textbook example of the group's gleeful goofiness.

Of course, the night wasn't just limited to that single disc with faithful getting a sneak preview of 1980's commercial breakthrough (and fellow recent remaster) Freedom of Choice, slated to earn a full-run through Friday evening. Aside from that disc's "Gates of Steel," the guys resurrected the cult-classic "Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA," both of which continue to attract with their robotic kitsch, sleazy synths and unforgettable lyrics that confirm celebrated underground longevity.

Related articles:

Devo - Concert review - Chicago - August 2005
Devo (Lollapalooza 1997) - Concert review - East Troy, WI - July 2007

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