Thoughts on teaching, technology, learning and life in an era of change.
Devo ~ Hordern Pavilion, Sydney, 2008.
August 2nd, 2008

Caught Devo live in concert last night in Sydney. It was brilliant. To quote their own bio the “band took its name from their concept of “de-evolution” – the idea that instead of evolving, mankind has actually regressed, as evidenced by the dysfunction and herd mentality of American society.” Most of the tracks they played during their frenetic gig came from their first three albums. There were quite a few fans wearing the Devo Energy Domes as well as the yellow or white boiler suits.

Photograph of Devo by AfterGlow76. Some Rights Reserved.

I was a little surprised when they came out on stage. A couple of the band members looked rather portly in their trademark yellow boiler suits. I have seen David Bowie as well as the Rolling Stones perform live recently and they are holding their own somewhat. Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo had put on a little weight, yet his energy levels were enormous. They all performed at a frantic pace. It was such a great show.

Photograph of Mark Mothersbaugh by Nathan Wind as Cochese. Some rights reserved.

I first saw Devo perfom live back in 1982. I had read about the band in a copy of New Musical Express in 1978 and imported their album Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! It was simultaneously an immensely enjoyable and challenging album. You hade to be a little eccentric or willing to step outside of your musical comfort zone to get into Devo.

Photograph of Devo by AfterGlow76. Some Rights Reserved.

I bought some of their early singles, some live bootleg albums plus their first few official albums after that. I have since sold the bootleg albums on eBay.

You can catch their seminal track, Jocko Homo, live here on YouTube if you wish to sample a live experience from 2007. There is a live audio recording of Jocko Homo dating bac to 1978 on the Devo MySpace page as well. Here are the lyrics for you to digest. What can they teach you in the 21st Century you web 2.0 devotees?

Jocko Homo by Devo

They tell us that
We lost our tails
Evolving up
From little snails
I say it’s all
Just wind in sails
Are we not men?
We are DEVO!
We’re pinheads now
We are not whole
We’re pinheads all
Jocko homo
Are we not men?
Monkey men all
In business suit
Teachers and critics
All dance the poot
Are we not men?
We are DEVO!
Are we not men?
god made man
but he used the monkey to do it
apes in the plan
we’re all here to prove it
i can walk like an ape
talk like an ape
do what a monkey do
god made man
but a monkey supplied the glue
We must repeat
O.k. let’s go!

Well, is there a lesson for teachers and administrators in there, somewhere?

Addendum 7th August, 2008. Dion, over on The WhimWham has written a great review of the gig with a setlist, photographs, video and an acount of a meeting with the band! Simply brilliant!

4 Responses to “Devo ~ Hordern Pavilion, Sydney, 2008.”

  1. Dion Says:

    I was at the Sydney show as well. That show was revelatory–it puts a whole different spin on their music, seeing it performed in person with such energy. Just amazing.

  2. John Larkin Says:

    Thanks for the comment Dion. It was an amazing experience indeed. As I mention I saw Devo at the Hordern back in 1982 yet I feel the gig last Friday was tighter and far more enjoyable. Devo was simply having a great time and enjoying themselves. Back in 1982 I felt that they were going through the motions. What a wonderful night you experienced Dion. Cheers, John.

  3. Dion Says:

    I can imagine that. Nowadays they’re doing it for the love of it more than anything, I think, whereas back then it was a career.

    Out of curiosity, John, was the ’82 tour in support of New Traditionalists or Oh, No! It’s DEVO?

    Thanks for the link back.

    P.S. Unrelated: I think I’m the only person I know who remembers hearing Sandii and the Sunsets on the radio circa ’84. Really frustrating.

  4. John Larkin Says:

    Dion, I did sense that they were really having fun the other night. That tour back in 1982 was in support of the New Traditionalists. I saw Sandii and The Sunsets many times back then and I met the band on two occasions. I still collect the odd Sandii CD now and then. Cheers, John.