4

Friday Night: Devo At Warehouse Live

^
Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

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."

Backstage, the band had traded their synths for string guitars. After a few covers ("Satisfaction," "Secret Agent Man"), they started to tear off their yellow paper jumpsuits while singing "Mongoloid." It's kind of amazing they still have the balls to play that song.

Whatever doubts Aftermath had about the band's remaining stage energy were diminished. Bob Mothersbaugh even had a few guitar solos, Mothersbaugh was beginning to look like a mad scientist, and Gerald Casale was emploring the crowd to answer back to his question "Are We Not Men?"

"How many of you think devolution is real? You don't have to look far," he asked.

Playing their biggest hit in the early part of their 90-minute set was a pretty big FU to the concert status quo. As if Devo's message still wasn't clear enough, the band closed their encore with "Beautiful World," Mothersbaugh in his Booji Boy mask, singing the entire song in falsetto.

Personal Bias: Have always wanted to see Devo but was foiled last year after they had to cancel their Fun Fun Fun Fest appearance when Bob Mothersbaugh injured his hand.

The Crowd: Well-mannered, lots of families.

Overheard In the Crowd: Monkey sounds from Mark Mothersbaugh, who mingled on the floor jduring "Uncontrollable Urge."

Random Notebook Dump: During "Freedom of Choice," the first song in the encore, they came out on stage in Hawaiian-style shorts with hotdogs on them. Our notes: "They've gone Margaritaville."


Follow Rocks Off on Facebook and on Twitter at @HPRocksOff.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.