October 25, 2020

2000-02-28 – The Guardian

2000 02 28 The_Guardian_Mon__Feb_28__2000_



to know

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LifehouselPeie Townshend

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l’ete 'I‘mvnshend at Sadler's
Wells? The ex-Whu star's venue
l‘nr this performance ()I' the 30-
ycatt‘s-in-the—muking ruck upet‘tt
Lifehouse was, like its recent
broadcast on Radio :5, no acci-
dent. 'i‘ownshend now wishes
his work to be measured by
classical standards. I‘lerc, Who
favourites were interposed be-
tween orchestral cmnpositions.
Behind 'l‘ownshend wigging out
on Who Are You?, the London
Chamber Orchestra sat, tapping
their feet. In the crowd goutee
mixed with mullet as he strugv
gletl to define a mature context
for an adolescent :u‘tt‘nrm.

'l‘mvnshend has revived Life-
huuse — positing a dystopian
millennium whose fragmented
society conununicates by com-
ptttet' — to place The Who’s
finest songs “in their original
context? But there‘s little. save
’i‘omtshend's emianatmgv ii nks,
to generate :1 sense 0f"coueept’t
A narrative are is fleetingty per—
ceptible in the interplay nfbai-
lad and rock, orchestra and psy-
chedelizt. Elsewher .’ (me waits
for the hits — and it’s a bonus to
hear them sung by the man who
wrote every word.

Lifchouse’s guiding ideal is
the search for music's transcen-
dence — “the simple secret of
the note in us ail’; ateeording to
the deeply hippie Pure and
listsy, its defining track. Town-
shend's enduring curiosity
about what makes music tick is
admirable — even it' the frus—
ll't ting truth may he that its


tmnseendent moments are
essentially arhitmt'y. ’l‘herc were
thrilling peaks but as the gig
dragged on beyond three hours,
nothing he conjured could rival
what should have been its
grand finale: in the keyboard re-
train of Won’t Get Fueled Again.
Brian Logan


Electric and



Royal Festival Hall. London
fi**___ --.._

Few bands have survived the
process of reforming and kept
their original allu‘re. But Wire
ure‘old hands at this game,


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Dystopian 1,9239 Townshend performs his rock opera Lifehouse Photograph: Angela Lubraflo

having already reconvened for
a period during the late-BOS, a
partially successful experiment
that dissipated amidst those
perennial nulsicul/pcrsonul dif»
fcrences.‘l‘his first perfornmncc
in 10 years vindi mes their
tleeisiun to return yet again.
Wire’s clipped, i mprcssionis-
tic arl-pop was inspired by
punk but always more ambigu-
ous, this was hardly a greatest
hits-l‘est. It didn't need to be:
piayingusetofsung written fur
the most part over 20 years ago.
Wire still possess more eur-
rency than most groups half
theiragc. Opening with the title
track from their debut album
“Pink Flag", they embrace ma—
terial from the first two periods
of their histo ry, plus a new com-
position, “Art of Persistence”,
which happily straddles both.

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4. ’ x



The presence of Robert
Gotobed is vital. A great mini-
malist drummers, Gotobed
was marginalised from the
‘805 Wire us the group became
more in thraii to synthesised
instruments and comput-
erised methods of recording.
Tonight, however, Wire are
synthetie-t‘ree, but utterly
modern, a testimony to the
prescience of their core sound.
The appearance of dancer
Michael Clark around a dis-
quieting rendition of "Heart-
beat" proves Wire are as disin-
clined as ever to conform.
Keith Cameron

***** Unmissable
** ink Recommended
*1H: Enjoyable

** Mediocre *Terrible

v-VI-a». —-