When I started up this blog I was afraid it’d turn into a kind of Wire fansite, so obsessed was I with exploring their expansive back catalog. Well I’m no less a fan these days, but they do make up a smaller percentage of my overall listening. But that’s no excuse for having not done a post on them since last September – far too long.
We’ll get back into their world via their 2005 set The Scottish Play: 2004, which documented the band’s performance at The Tramway Theatre in Glasgow, Scotland on April 2004 as part of The Triptych Festival, which ran across three major cities in Scotland – Glasgow, Edinborough, and Aberdeen – for a number of years in the mid ’00s.
In addition to containing the entire festival performance, the DVD also contains a few selections from their Flag:Burning set at the Barbican in London in 2003, which saw the band perform in four separate cubes (echoed on the release artwork) and was also supposed to be a farewell performance following their Read & Burn/Send release series, a goodbye that thankfully did not take.
The almost two-decade old press release best summarizes the context of the show:
Their first album in over a decade, ‘send’ marked a return to their trademark gimlet, shivved, short sharp shocked writing style. filmed by visual artist tom gidley in forensic detail, this document shows the complete visceral set and deliberately excludes the usual rock music celebration of place and time, instead concentrating on giving the viewer the closest of contact with a band often misrepresented as enigmatic, cold and distant. also included is a bonus selection of pieces captured by observation camera #1 of the second half of wire’s april 2003 flag:burning performance installation at the only connect festival at the barbican, london.
The set by avant stage designer es devlin was specifically commissioned by wire for this one-off performance. whilst based on the same body of work as the performance at triptych, this is wire seen from the other end of the telescope, willingly surrendering their personal performance to the service of the machinery of a unique, complex theatrical spectacle in a manner rarely allowed in the rock world rife with ego and self-aggrandisement.WIRE ‘THE SCOTTISH PLAY: 2004’ @ Cargo Records