Devo Evolve in California

New Wave stalwarts take aim at Bush in club show

January 19, 2006 12:00 AM ET

Like at any proper cult gathering, it didn't take long before the faith of the assembly was called into question on this Sunday night: "How many of you believe de-evolution is real?" bellowed Devo's Gerald V. Casale from the stage of the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, California — summoning his best deranged science teacher voice, trademark red plastic flowerpot hat on his head.

As an affirmative cry went up the club full of Spuds (as Devo devotees are known), Casale continued: "It's certainly more believable than intelligent design. And you don't have to look too far for evidence — it starts in the White House and trickles on down!" At that, Devo blasted into the call-and-response "Jocko Homo" off their 1978 debut, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo, with maniacal fervor.

The members of Devo have long gone on to success in other arenas (Mark Mothersbaugh's soundtrack work for Wes Anderson being one example), and they fill out their iridescent jumpsuits a little more these days. But they still perform with an awesome unity of purpose, as a taut sequence of "Girl U Want," "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," "Whip It" and "Uncontrollable Urge" proved.

For the angular anti-funk of "Mongoloid," Mark Mothersbaugh shook a pair of giant orange pom-poms as the left-handed Casale plonked his fretless bass with primordial aplomb. Supertight dork-rocker "Come Back Jonee" was the finale, Mothersbaugh donning stick-on mustache and foam cowboy hat to throw fistfulls of superballs into the crowd.

With their society-skewering singalongs, Devo remain the ultimate in anti-fascist fun. As Casale said: "You still have freedom of choice. Exercise it now."

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