Hardcore Devo Live
directed by Keirda Bahruth
Devo’s 2012 Something for Everybody tour was living proof that the band still had it; experiencing them performing a high-energy set showed that time had not dulled the band’s subversion, chops, or tightness.
But what to do for an encore?
Devo decided to go back to their earliest recordings, to when they were a group of like-minded weirdos gathered in a basement with guitars, drums, and synthesizers and created odes to sexual frustration, consumerism, inside jokes, and the roots of their theory of de-evolution.
Dusting off songs they hadn’t played in years, Hardcore Devo is a snapshot of the band’s early days, of the experimental weirdness that seemed to explode fully formed on 1978’s Q: Are We Not Men A:We are Devo. The DVD also stands as a tribute to guitarist Bob Casale, who died months before the tour.
Opening with a reading of the day’s headlines (Nixon resigns!), the band remains seated on a basement set, looking like a group of affable uncles. While the mixing of the recordings are synth-heavy, the versions here lean heavily on Gerald Casale’s guitar. Here, “Auto Modown” sounds like twisted classic rock, and “Beehive” sounds like a blues deconstruction.
Soon, however, the band stands up, dons their blue janitorial uniforms and explains how they constructed their cover of “Satisfaction.” The rest of the set has Devo playing rarities like “Be Stiff” and “Social Fools” along with versions of “Jocko Homo,” “Uncontrollable Urge,” and “Gut Feeling.” The synchronized robot dance comes out. Booji Boy comes out in a stroller. All is right with the world.