I've been having a dilemma. Should I go and see Wire tonight here in Auld Reekie?
You see, I've made it a point of principle not to see re-formed bands. This wasn't something I had to consider up until relatively recently, but the deluge of bands that have regrouped for one last lucrative hurrah has now reached critical mass. However, it's sometimes not easy to see where the principled gig-goer should stand. I mean, which bands really have split up and which ones have been on extended hiatus? Some bands are a no-brainer. Scritti Politti? Of course. Go see. They may have huge gaps of 10+ years between releases but they've never split up. And as the band is essentially G. Gartside plus A.N. Others, I'm guessing they never will. Magazine? Computer says no. Luxuria, Barry Adamson's solo career, Howard Devoto solo albums... yes, they definitely split. The Fire Engines? No. Win? No. Nectarine no. 9? Yes.
Some bands are more difficult to categorise. Duran Duran? They've had a lot of line-up changes, members in, members out, shake it all about. But they've never actually split up. So I suppose they'd be in. Though as I wouldn't pay to see them, the point is moot.
So, Wire, then. They've had three major periods of activity, as far as I can tell: the EMI/Harvest years up to 1980 or so, the Mute years of A Bell Is A Cup, Manscape etc., and their present purple patch after a break of some 12 years between The Drill and Send . They've lost Bruce Gilbert in recent years (and as The Beekeeper he was part of one of the most memorable gigs I ever saw, a freebie at London's Tower Records with the Balanescu Quartet: but that's another story) and all the members have a huge extra-curricular workload. But did they ever split up? The jury's out. Though yet again, the point is moot, as since I've been prevaricating the gig has sold out. There's a lesson there, I think. Principles can be overrated.
Wire's current album, incidentally, is excellent. You can listen on Spotify here. Some older stuff? How about Finest Drops, from IBTABA? You got it.
Download Finest Drops by Wire (mp3) (deleted Dec 11)
Visit Pink Flag, Wire's official website