Michael Stipe Successful touring musicians often live fishbowl lives…
- Posted on Jun 19th 2011 2:00PM by Jason MacNeil
Matthew C.X. Langford
Before a large throng of Devo-tees, the group's 80-minute set relied heavily on earlier material yet opened with 'Don't Shoot (I'm A Man)' as singer Mark Mothersbaugh, his brother Bob, and the Casale brothers (Gerald and Bob) conjured up their quirky, robotic movement mojo.
Over a Devo show, one could quickly lose count of the number of bands they've influenced (one of them was even on the bill Saturday night, with Men Without Hats). Portions of some songs briefly bring to mind Nine Inch Nails -- which is fitting considering drummer Josh Freese performs in both bands -- and Rammstein to the oddball delivery of Primus bassist Les Claypool. Yet, all of those bands would be hard-pressed to enhance an already bouncy nugget like 'Peek-A-Boo.'
Sporting their signature Energy Dome hats, Devo went into another gear for 'Whip It' as Mark Mothersbaugh cracked an imaginary lash towards the fans before tossing Energy Domes to some lucky onlookers. Although his voice cracked at times as the show progressed -- leaving him cursing and then laughing during 'Gates of Steel' as he simply couldn't finish -- the enraptured crowd barely seemed to notice.
Highlights of the set were easily the garage-punk flavoured 'Uncontrollable Urge,' as Devo perfected some synchronized shuffling on the spot, and 'Mongoloid.' The give-and-take response ("Are we not men? We are Devo!") driving 'Jocko Homo' had Mothersbaugh reaching into the crowd with his microphone for the obligatory answer. Later, he threw goodies snatched from the green room into the sea of fans, including a paper towel used to mop his sweat, which was grabbed at with the same fervor fans used to go after those Energy Domes.
Despite the pipes not being up to snuff, Devo's seminal output makes them more than Hall of Fame worthy. Overall, Devo delivered the goods as headliners, leaving them and Rush as potential trivia answers as to who still hasn't made the trip to Cleveland yet.
Watch Devo Play NXNE 2011