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Show Review: Wire and Bear In Heaven at MOCAD July 9

Colin Newman of Wire
Wire hasn’t played Detroit in 25 years. During that time Wire has shifted their sound in different directions, lost then regained members and toured extensively.  When a date was announced for Detroit, Wire fans (counting myself as one) were caught up in a sense or rabid enthusiasm. Packed in a sweltering heat the fans and Wire kept their cool for a great show.

Bear in Heaven
Bear in Heaven started the show with a sound that was similar to Wire in their later 80’s period with mid-tempo songs and synths. They said touring with Wire was dream fulfillment for them and proved to be a worthy opening act. My only complaint would be their name. Isn’t there another band named “Bear in (fill in the blank)”?  Plus using an animal in their band name automatically gets them lumped in as a beardy hipster band, which they are not.

Wire Set list - with Chords!
Three of the 4 members of Wire are original members which means they had to be in their 60’s but you wouldn’t know it from their sound and energy. Hell, the bass player, Graham Lewis was wearing skinny jeans. That’s a feat most people bordering 30 shouldn’t attempt and he pulled it off. Their set was exactly what you would expect from Wire – the unexpected. They played various songs from their large catalog but there was only a handful each would recognize. The other songs were B-sides, new tracks from their latest album “Change Becomes Us” and even a couple unreleased songs they just created. Given this, the songs they played were still quite excellent as they plunged into “Drill” and “Map Ref. 41 N 93 West” really got the crowd moving and my favorite was the darkly danceable “The Boiling Boy.” They wrapped up the show with a few of their quick punk songs and the crowd left the show in a sweaty mess as evidence of good times.

Graham Lewis of Wire

Post and photos by Mikel O.D. of MPAD Media