Devo Warehouse Live March 25, 2011
See more peek-a-boo pics of Devo, openers Octopus Project and their fans in our slideshow.
When Aftermath first heard Devo's latest album, Something for Everybody, we listened with a cringe. It had been 20 years since the band had released a new album, and this one seemed to veer too closely into Weird Al territory, with comedic references to hybrid cars and the University of Florida taser incident.
But Friday night, after finally getting to see the band perform their new material, something clicked. Devo's message hasn't change much since the mid-1970s, it's just that they're more relevant now that ever before.
The band opened with "Don't Shoot," two synths onstage and Mark Mothersbaugh looking stoic as a giant LED screen displayed graphics behind the band. Their second song, "Peek-A-Boo," set the pattern for the rest of the show: the set list alternated old hits with newer and lesser-known material.
It was when the band sang "It's all the same, there's nothing new" on last year's "What We Do" that everything fell into place. By now the guys were starting to show a bit of energy onstage and the sound had transitioned from New Wave to pure rock and roll. But of all the songs off the new album, "What We Do" is the one that felt the most quintessentially Devo-esque.
See, the band has enjoyed some fame even without a new album over the years in part because of Mothersbaugh's collaborations with director Wes Anderson. 20-year-olds who might have only known the band from the "Whip It" video now know "Gut Feeling" and "Girl U Want" thanks to Anderson's soundtracks.
So when they sing about internet memes like "Don't Taze Me Bro," they're commenting on our ephemeral, consumable culture while themselves staying essentially the same. By the way, they did play "Whip It" and "Girl U Want" only about 20 minutes in.
The band broke about halfway through their set list for a fourth costume change and were re-introduced by an announcer:
"Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back to the stage, here on Earth, your fellow travelers in space and time."