SXSW showcase reviews

Live Shots
Photo by John Anderson


Austin Music Hall, March 20

Given Devo's emblematic role in shaping contemporary 1980s nostalgia, the question was whether the Akron, Ohio-bred quintet would scare up a 21st century version of Ricky Nelson's "Garden Party." A competent running of the hits would've sent the crowd home happy, but the group performed as if it were still trying to seal the deal. As the house lights dimmed shortly after midnight, Devo opened with "Don't Shoot, I'm a Man" from its forthcoming (and still untitled) first new album in nearly two decades. Video made this and two other new songs, "Fresh" and "What We Do," seem more familiar than they had a right to be. "Peek-a-Boo!" was accompanied by scenes of doll sodomy that were too hot for MTV circa 1982, while "That's Good" recalled Muffy Tepperman's bat mitzvah on Square Pegs. After "Whip It" midset, Devo focused on its first two LPs, coupling its deconstructed version of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" with "Secret Agent Man" and following "Uncontrollable Urge" with fan-pleasing deeper cuts like "Mongoloid" and "Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA." Finally, Mark Mothersbaugh appeared in full Booji Boy attire to squeal his way through "Beautiful World," solidifying the notion that Devo's joke-theory of humanity in reverse has aged frighteningly well.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Devo
Live Shots
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts/Rick Springfield/George Jones/Devo

Raoul Hernandez, April 1, 2011

Phases & Stages
Something for Everybody (Record Review)

Margaret Moser, July 2, 2010

More Music Reviews
Top 10 Box Sets of 2018
The Beatles
The White Album (Super Deluxe) (Record Review)

Abby Johnston, Dec. 7, 2018

Top 10 Box Sets of 2018
The Best of R.E.M. at the BBC (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, Dec. 7, 2018

More by Greg Beets
Texas Platters
All the Pain Money Can Buy 20th Anniversary Edition (Record Review)

Nov. 30, 2018

Texas Platters
Short of Popular (Record Review)

Oct. 26, 2018



One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle