June 26, 2014 Devo make history at Best Buy Theater NYC 6-19-14
At the forefront of the evolution of New Wave was the Ohio-based band named Devo. While often associated with the 1980’s Devo’s history dates back to early 1970’s. Sustaining a relatively consistent lineup over the years, the classic Devo cast had essentially been a band of brothers with Gerald Casale (bass guitar, vocals, bass synthesizer), Bob Casale (guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), Mark Mothersbaugh (synthesizers, vocals, guitar), Bob Mothersbaugh (guitars,vocals). After the passing of Devo almuni drummer Alan Myers in 2013, 2014 brought on another somber note when Bob Casale suddenly passed away due to heart failure. With the loss of a friend, brother, and fellow musician, Devo’s surviving members tour for the first time in over a year with concentration on the 1974-1977 era of the band in dedication to the memory of Bob Casale. For only a limited ten dates, fans get the chance to see this special show. On the second night of the tour Devo came to Best Buy Theater in NYC on Thursday June 19th to play in front of a massive crowd.
With fans ranging from the early days of classic alternative to the younger generation discovering Devo through the archives of their discography, Best Buy Theater was a melting pot ready to explode with excitement. Always remembered for their signature costumes, some dedicated followers were even spotted dressed in black outfits with red hats or silver jump suits. This was an event people came to from far and wide, including those who flew in from Denmark, France, and London making Devo a to-do on their holiday. Pumped up, the crowd was chanting the first names of each member and screaming Devo when suddenly the stage erupted in city noises as a spotlight turned on a guy sitting behind the keyboards reading a paper. The audience picked up right away that this was Mark as he gave out in a deep voice reading the paper “about damn time that Nixon got impeached..”. This was immediately followed by the rest of the band walking on the stage. Casually sitting on bar stools the audience could not contain their excitement as they continued to cheer and Gerald said to Mark “Man that cigarette voice is still working for ya after all these years”. Amused only moments into the show the audience erupted into laughter and the the music started with opener “Mechanical Man”. Featuring some off-beat sounds everyone screamed “yeah” filling gaps between the beats. Soon after that Bob went into the guitar lick of “Auto Modoen” showing off that he still has the deep vibe down pat. Mark then said “remember that time we went into space?” and transitioned into “Space Girl Blues”. To follow was more bizarre classics including “Baby Talkin’ Bitches”, “Fraulein”, “I Been Refused”, “Bamboo Bimbo”, and “Beehive”. Having been almost three decades since most of these tracks have ever been heard live Devo faithful were fully attentive to everything unfolding before their very eyes as they watched history unfold. Showing how innovative and vastly different than anything else from that period, each song sounded fresh as they played on with hip bass heavy “Midget”.
After the excellent beginning the band stood up and put the stools aside and started to undress right there on stage for the second quarter of the performance. Left with jumpsuits, they went into their awesome take on Rolling Stones “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”. Dazzling with warm synthesizers “Timing X” was a quick treat before going into “Soo Bawlz” and ” Stop Look Listen”. Keeping the level of enthusiasm through the roof, Devo keep rocking with “Be Stiff” to which no one could resist the urge to dance around, have a good time, and just let go. One fan was even exuberant enough to rip their shirt off and dance uncontrollably.
As the evening proceeded the set continued like a play with acts outlining the eras in time. With Mark simply saying “Later in 1976…” and striking the first cords of “Uncontrollable Urge” which provoked one of the biggest reactions thus far with a frenzy breaking out on the floor. Passionately partaking in the song fans sang out-loud and gave Devo a massive ovation as the song concluded. Headed for their third costume change the band put on hard-hats and masks going into fan-favorite “Jacko Homo”. The classic slogan “Are we are not men, we are devo!” unified this crowd even further as they indulged themselves in the madness. With so much music covered already the surprises kept coming with “Fountain of Filth” and “Gut Feeling”.
Taking a brief moment to allow the audience to absorb the last hour plus of Devo greatness, the band exited before an encore began with the eerie “Booji Boy’s” echoing over the speakers. Whistling and cheering for more the encore featured two more tracks deep from the treasure chest in “U Got Me Bugged” and “Clockout”. Spuds were ecstatic to have Devo put on this unforgettable show which will be recognized in years to come as a landmark staple of the band’s unconventional musical career. While educational to some and nostalgic for others above all the tribute to Bob Casale is fittingly a wonderful celebration of his life and times with Devo. Do not miss this once in a lifetime tour before it concludes July 2nd in Austin, TX.