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Devo: Live 1980 (2005)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Are We Not Men?

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buy Devo: Live 1980 on DVD.

Many would consider Devo a one-hit-wonder band, based on the phenomenal success of their 1980 single "Whip It." But in reality, the Akron, Ohio band was part of a new movement in music, based more on technology and intelligence than on sex and drugs (others cut from the same cloth include The B-52s, the Talking Heads, Oingo Boingo and the Residents). They are worthy of a deeper look, and this new DVD provides that look.

A great opening crawl -- a la Star Wars -- explains that the name Devo comes from "devolution," which the band felt America was doing after the election of Reagan. The crawl argues that we have continued to de-evolve, and that the presidency of George W. Bush proves it.

From there, we get nothing but concert, more watchable than the usual shows, and with excellent sound. Devo puts on an energetic show, working up a sweat, but never breaking their deadpan persona. The show incorporates weird costume changes and lighting as well as video. It kicks off with a powerhouse rendition of "Whip It," and it's not too long before the trained ear will begin recognizing other great songs: "Girl U Want," "Secret Agent Man," "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," "Gates of Steel" and "Jocko Homo" as well as 14 other tracks.

DVD Details: Best of all, some magical new technology allows the viewer to flip the DVD over for a CD soundtrack of the very same show! Other extras include a clip from a more recent show, and a trailer for a second Devo DVD.

Starring: Jerry Casale, Mark Mothersbaugh, Bob Casale, David Kendrick, Bob Mothersbaugh, Jim Mothersbaugh, Alan Myers
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 75 minutes
Date: September 10, 2005

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