After a beguilingly poor latest album, the sense of dread encroached as the date of this gig approached. Yes, Entertainment! may well be the best album of all time, but it's almost cancelled out by the atrocities committed by Mall and subsequently Content. And so it was that I went, seeking any sign that this latest atrocity was only a blip, and they still had it in them.

Put on as part of the Shockwaves NME Awards Show, the night started well. The ever awesome Wild Palms kicked it off, with their well manufactured and composed epic pop. Lou Hill's voice ever tender and receptive, backed by his band's slow burning, oft crescendo-ing post rock stylings made for a tasty entree to a gig that could go one of two ways.

Next on were John and Jehn who I could have sworn were some twee crap. Actually, it was really good early rock and roll influenced post punky riotous fun. The best thing about it all though was how close and linked John and Jehn were. Everything between the two, every word Jehn sang, John accented in perfect time on the guitar, every look given, every lyric uttered, everything was responded to with awesome tightness by the other. Alongside a drummer and a multi instrumentalist, the later who looked like they'd just stepped out of an ECC club night, they formed a tight and perfect live band.

And finally, Gang of Four. About 5 minutes late, they stepped on stage, and within a few chords of 'You'll Never Pay For The Farm' (one of the less objectionable ones off Content), the crowd could tell they were in for a treat. John King has lost none of the liveliness that made his a famed frontman, and Andy Gill has that stare, so full of contempt it hurts. After their opener they launched into two from Entertainment!, including 'Ether', which was incredible, and really caught the attention of the crowd. This was the ignition the crowd needed, a perfect slab of post punk served up by the prodigal sons of 1979.

Andy Gill

Soon after this though was 'A Fruitfly In The Beehive', Gang of Four's worst song of their latest album. It's fair to say they don't do "slow" so well, and this was exaggerated by the audience's lack of reaction. Which was soon remedied when Gill decided to stand on stage for two minutes, making a beautiful racket as the opening for 'Anthrax'. And what a rendition that was. After throwing the guitar between each other, King stood one side, animated, arms spread open and slowly moving to the beat, and Gill stood the other, static, reading out technical instructions, and occasionally chipping in. While they couldn't achieve the full stereo effect that they so masterfully produced in the studio, they still created that level of confusion but clarity, that anarchic, entropic sound that defined what one of the greatest songs of all time.

John King

One good thing to be said about the songs performed from Content was the rawness in them. The angular sharp sound of Gill's guitar returned, and really lit up and brought tracks like 'I Party All The Time' to life, and alongside some edits to cut down on the inanities buried in the song, it was transformed into perfect danceable anger, one of Gang of Four's trademarks.

And after a stunning rendition of 'To Hell With Poverty' (as one man correctly, but loudly, announced to anyone in the vicinity, "the best song of all fucking time") which culminated in a forward roll from King, the gig was almost over. And after possibly seeing Simon Price (the one with the hair) at the bar, the night was complete, my love of Gang of Four and my faith in their lack of faith in humanity restored.