Written by Jim Bille
Aug 19, 2006 at 08:00 PM
Image“In the past this information has been suppressed, but now it can be told. Every man, woman and mutant on this planet shall know the truth about devolution.” – General Boy

It all started Saturday night with a video overture featuring General Boy and various clips from “The Truth About De-Evolution” and other videos made throughout DEVO’s art and musical career displayed on a large screen above the stage. This visual montage helped set the tone of the evening as the Akron, Ohio visionary musical pioneers took the stage and walloped the crowd with their opening song “That’s Good” from the band’s release Oh No! It’s Devo.

Clad in classic yellow chemical retardant suits topped off with their ever-stylish red energy domes, the boys hammered on keyboards, synthesizers and custom guitars adorned with various buttons, switches, wizzers and widgets to spread their message and produce their now legendary sound.

The almost two hour punch-you-in-the-face show by DEVO was non-stop and spanned their entire musical odyssey.  The set included ‘Girl U Want’, ‘Mongoloid’, ‘Jocko Homo’ and ‘Gates of Steel’. Of course the obligatory version of ‘Whip it’ was well received by the ‘Spuds’ and ‘DEVOtee’s’ in the crowd. But this performance was not anchored by their most popular hit. This show was everything you ever wanted to know about DEVO. That is, at least about their music.

During the course of the show DEVO switched their attire to black shorts and t-shirts. Now resembling some sort of devolved alien society soccer team, the band continued their onslaught of de-evolutionary sound playing incredible versions of ‘Uncontrollable Urge’, ‘Blockhead’ and ‘Satisfaction’.

During the performance of ‘Smart Patrol / Mr. DNA’, guitarist Bob Mothersbaugh, a.k.a. Bob 1, donned a custom guitar that resembled a 2×4 block of black wood. During a solo, Bob 1 pounded the instrument relentlessly until all of the strings exploded at once.  Surely this part of the show was staged, but it worked.

Encore selections included ‘Freedom of Choice’, Wiggly World’, and the sensational ‘Gut Feeling’. The last song, ‘Come Back Jonnie’, featured Mark Mothersbaugh disguised in a giant red foam cowboy hat and mustache, cavorting around the stage bouncing florescent green super balls to the DE-lighted crowd.

DEVO does not tour as extensively or often as before, but you would never know it. Their concert was an astounding experience of music and showmanship. The band sounded as fresh and innovative today as they did twenty years ago, maybe more so now.

The Mothersbaugh brothers…. Mark and Bob, Casale brothers…. Gerald and Bob now all have successful second careers that include video production and music scoring for movies, television and commercials.  Super drummer Josh Freese performs with DEVO, as well as other bands.
In closing, we should all remember the following Devolutionary Oath.

1. Be like your ancestors or be different, it doesn’t matter.
2. Lay a million eggs or give birth to one, so shall your species survive.
3. Wear gaudy colors or avoid display, it’s all the same.
4. The fittest shall survive yet the unfit shall live.
5. We must repeat.

Man, ain’t that the truth, I am a spud boy, and we are still all DEVO.