England’s post-punk pioneers Gang of Four are long removed from their days of shouting anti-establishment anthems in the punk clubs of London. These days Andy Gill & Co. are more apt to be found playing in theaters and larger clubs around the world, taking their die-hard fans back to their angst-ridden youth. Long time vocalist and co-founder Jon King departed the band in 2012, followed by drummer Mark Heaney not long after leaving the group’s future in doubt. However, new members John Sterry and Jonny Finnegan came in and have breathed new life into the legendary group. The new lineup worked together with founder Andy Gill on the band’s 9th album, “What Happens Next” which was released in February of this year. The ensuing tour brought the band to one of their most frequent destinations, Boston’s Paradise Rock Club for a Friday night rock show that would end up packing quite the punch.
Opening act, Public Access T.V. got things started with a retro sounding punk rock set, that sounded straight out of the 1970’s New York City club scene. Much of the early arriving Gang of Four fans seemed to enjoy the sound and vibe the young band showed.
Gang of Four got things started shortly after, opening with new material “Where the Nightingale Sings” as John Sterry and Andy Gill played off each other as if they’d been playing together for decades. Halfway through their set, they pulled out the fan favorite track “Anthrax” putting the punk rock angst that built their career on display. Rounding out their main set was the lead track from the group’s Another Day/Another Dollar EP “To Hell With Poverty!” The group returned for a three song encore of “Why Theory?” “I Love a Man in Uniform” and “Return the Gift” drawing from the 1st, 2nd, and 7th album of the band’s catalog.
Gang of Four’s new members brought a renewed energy to the band, unlike many bands with 30+ year careers, Gang of Four can still get their crowd moving about, as well as moving about themselves. While there weren’t any high kicks or jumps off the drum riser, the energy level in the room was far above anything you’d expect from a band that’s been touring for so many years. The politically motivated lyrics and angst-ridden music are still right where they’ve always been, located in the hearts and minds of Gang of Four.