Michael Stipe Successful touring musicians often live fishbowl lives…
- Posted on Mar 28th 2011 11:00AM by Jason Cohen
Jason Merritt, Getty Images for Art of Elysium
"I would have thought after SXSW you had enough of music for while," Gerald Casale told the crowd, a noticeable portion of which sported red and blue energy domes.
Opening with several newer songs, and also getting 'Whip It' over with quite early, Devo's set could be divided into costume changes/musical configurations:
1. Gray suits (and eventually, blue energy domes) for mostly keyboard-driven pop with perverse video projections, including 'Don't Shoot (I'm a Man)' and 'What We Do,' from their most recent album, 'Something for Everbody,' and a frenetic 'Girl U Want.'
2. Radiation suits and more guitar for a stretch that began with the Rolling Stones' 'Satisfaction' (a nonpareil version that stuck to the band's original deconstruction while also paying homage to Keith Richards' guitar sound) and Johnny Rivers' 'Secret Agent Man.' Then, with 'Uncontrollable Urge,' things got faster, fuller and louder, anchored by the somewhat unlikely presence of drummer Josh Freese (unlikely in that he's also been a member of Pearl Jam and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but when you put an energy hat on him and feed him a banana dangling from a wire in the sky, he fits right in).
3. Next to nothing, for a triple-guitar lineup with more punky proggy noise and manic keyboard extras, after the yellow suits got tossed into the crowd. Reduced to black t-shirts, skivvies, socks and knee pads (which actually looked like sock garters), Devo ripped through 'Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA' and a version of 'Gates of Steel' that had die-hard fans in the third-level balcony abandoning their seats.
4. What Casale called "hot-dog shirts" (sort of Hawaiian-style) for the lengthy encore of 'Beautiful World,' which featured frontman Mark Mothersbaugh dueting with Casale in the guise of his falsetto-voiced alter-ego 'Booji Boy.'
"How many people here believe that devolution is real?" Casale had asked a few songs earlier for 'Jocko Homo,' during which Mark Mothersbaugh produced an implausible quantity of bananas from his boxer shorts. In Texas, where an Arlington state legislator has proposed a bill banning academic discrimination against proponents of "intelligent design," that might be a loaded question, but for the Austin crowd on this night, the inevitable answer was simply "We are Devo."
The Making of Devo's 'Something for Everybody'
Download Devo Songs | Buy Devo Albums