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Story and photos by Andy ArgyrakisWith 16 years in between proper studio CDs, it could easily be assumed that Gang of Four was quietly slipping out of the spotlight and letting a plethora of groove-induced post-punk bands take its place. But as the brand new project Content (Yep Roc) and subsequent tour displays, the group is picking right up where it left off, charging forward with plenty of meaty power chords, sputtering rhythms and politically inspired lyrics.
Even with the lengthy gap between new material, Gang of Four hasn't exactly been flying under the radar as of late, thanks in part to 2005's collection of re-recordings Return the Gift and a slew of offshoot acts like Bloc Party, The Rapture, Franz Ferdinand and The Killers name checking these elder hipsters. As a result, the audience at Chicago's venerable Metro was a mixed bag between those who first fell in love with the outspoken act around 1979's breakthrough Entertainment! and this recent resurgence.
Given that unique age split, it wasn't surprising to see the set list split pretty evenly between that landmark album and the new collection (with plenty of other groundbreaking chestnuts thrown in between). The freshly squeezed jarring rocker "You'll Never Pay For the Farm" was practically a bookend to the militant follow-up "Not Great Men," with the adrenaline level rising all the more after every funky bass bounce.
The near two hour evening also soared with older tracks like the icy "Ether" and the ominous "Anthrax," which were balanced by the tension relieving revelry of "I Party All the Time." Of course, Gang of Four's message remains just as important as its innovative music, which was most perfectly balanced throughout the affirming "To Hell With Poverty." Add in career defining classics like "Natural's Not In It" and "Damaged Goods," and Gang of Four turned in an ultra-satisfying set propelled by its unrelenting urges for social reform.
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