Before The Beginning Was The End There Was Devo
April 15, 2021 1:17 PM   Subscribe

On April 23rd, 1974, DEVO performed their second ever concert at the 2nd Kent State Creative Arts festival. DEVO Co-Founder Bob Lewis has uploaded the (almost) complete audio recording to YouTube.

This recording marks the earliest circulating concert recording of DEVO. Clips of the 1973 Sextet DEVO performance were included on the Laserdisc and DVD The Complete Truth About De-Evolution, and a three song live recording from later in 1974 is also circulating.

Most of the songs in the set list would not make it to DEVO's more commercial era. The two that did were "Be Stiff" which was the B-Side to the 1977 "Social Fools" single, and "I Been Refused" which was re-recorded for Gerald Casale's solo album as Jihad Jerry & the Evildoers. Versions of "I Been Refused", "The Rope Song", and "Be Stiff" were included on the Hardcore DEVO compilations of demo recordings in 1991, later re-released in 2013. A high-generation, partial recording of "Pigs Waddle" has circulated as a bootleg, and a shorter version of "Subhuman Woman" was released as part of a 1975 concert recording on 1992's DEVO Live: The Mongoloid Years.

The band performed in the Kent State University Governance Chambers, which would later be the set for the "Jocko Homo" segment in DEVO's first short film, "In The Beginning Was The End: The Truth About De-Evolution".

The unofficial DEVO Live Guide has additional information on the performance.
posted by SansPoint (7 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Wow. So sounds like not Devo, but, totally Devo...
posted by Windopaene at 1:25 PM on April 15 [2 favorites]

Just last week I enjoyed reading about their 1975 campus show where they opened for Pink Flamingos.
posted by Catblack at 1:28 PM on April 15

So sounds like not Devo, but, totally Devo...

Right? it's all herky jerky but has this sort of primitive simplicity instead of that rhythmic sharpness they had later on...

The influences are more identifiable... less alien future sounding and more like a weird rock band still...

not to mention they pronounce Devo like "Duh-vo"
posted by albion moonlight at 1:44 PM on April 15

immediately makes me think of Eno meets captain beefheart, which strangely sounds like an okay description of DEVO.
posted by djseafood at 2:31 PM on April 15

Sometimes I make the kids watch or listen to something because it critiques societal norms. Thanks for the ammo.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 4:26 PM on April 15 [4 favorites]

I love Devo and think they absolutely do not get their due, but their pre-major label release stuff is shot through with some pretty gnarly sexism that rears its head in this performance. I know they're often embodying the perspective of the huboons and spudboys they're making fun of, but ... still leaves a bad taste in my mouth!
posted by Alex Goldman at 4:55 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]

Tangentially, last week I had wandered across Machines by Lothar and the Hand People a 1968(!) track that sounds like a precursor to Devo - and in fact, was produced by Robert Margouleff who went on to produce DEVO's Freedom of Choice album (and is worthy of a FPP of his own).
posted by fings at 10:26 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]

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