On July 8th, 1977 one band chose the infamous venue of Max’s Kansas City in New York to continue what was its emergence from its creative cocoon. It wasn’t The Clash, Sex Pistols or other punk fodder, it was a band unlike anything else of the moment, a band that David Bowie once called the “band of the future” (he even went on to introduce the band at their next foray in New York – below) – this was the enigmatic DEVO.
1977 was a complicated time for musos, offering a wide breadth of different genres to sink your teeth into the real issue came when aligning yourself to one particular sonic tribe or another. It was a time of regeneration, of ripping up the past and starting again. It’s one of the main reasons that punk flew as well as it did. But while some were dancing in the ashes of Elvis’ cremated corpse, others were looking to see what could be planted in the fertilized soil.
DEVO, was that electronic plant, bleep-blooping their way to the position of icon status, they were a band that were beginning to grow roots in 1977. Having been heralded by Bowie, one of the last bastions of the era, the band were gaining fame with every performance. They took this performance to bemuse many an audience – where better then than Max’s Kansas City.
The venue was a hotbed of creativity from the 50’s to the 70’s and harboured artists such as The Velvet Underground, Andy Warhol, Patti Smith, Alice Cooper, Bowie, Springsteen and genuinely hundreds more like them! It was the perfect place for the space-age scene.
The video below depicts one such night, a bemused audience stare straight at something they’d never seen before. A band from the future with music involving instruments many had never seen in real life before – it’s hard to overstate how odd they must’ve appeared to an audience, even one as advanced as MKC, in 1977. Best just to take a look at musical history in action.