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Design By Humans
Published On: Sun, Jun 24th, 2012

Devo: Live in Seattle 1981

Devo
Live In Seattle 1981
(Booji Boy Records)

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From way back in the day we get a tight little live set of Devo performing in Seattle in 1981.  Starting with the chugging spacey single note synth and power chord opener of the aptly-named instrumental “Opening Theme”, Devo runs through what amounts of a 17 song set with nary a stop for a hello or even to tune-up.

From way back in the day we get a tight little live set of Devo performing in Seattle in 1981.  Starting with the chugging, spacey, single-note synth and power chord opener of the aptly-named instrumental, “Opening Theme,” Devo runs through what amounts to a 17-song set with nary a stop for a hello or even to tune up.

The poppy “Through Being Cool” follows, then the B-52-sounding bass-led, useless “Jerkin’ Back ‘N’ Forth.” I am reminded that Devo, for the most part, were a strange punk collective who attempted to add keys and satire to their tunes, sometimes to startling brilliant effect as they do on “Soft Things,” probably the most complex of the tunes here, and“ Pity You” with its use of arcade game sounds. “Girl U Want” is jumpy and fun with a great synth line biting into the tight sonic space behind the tom beat and soft power chords and a perfect, though slightly quicker, “Whip It” hits about midway through the set.

I like “Race of Doom” a lot for its low, noisy, percussive synths and wanky guitar drives. This is almost Talking Heads area and probably the best tune of the lot, while “Uncontrollable Urge” and “Mongoloid” mine a Ramones-like feel.

“Joko Homo” sees the band at their most satirical. It’s a great tune with a weird chant-like synth overlay and “Gates of Steel,” which ends Live in Seattle 1981, is fast and brilliant with its true 80’s feel.

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Devo: Live in Seattle 1981