I was at their Seattle show stop on this tour with Blevin Blectum opening. (This stop sadly didn’t make this video, but the entire Seattle show is on YouTube anyway). I wrote about it in depth here:
In the aftermath of the west US tour leg, Mark Hosler tested positive for COVID. Thankfully he recovered just fine.
What I found fascinating is they didn’t rely on any sort of setlist and other than a set of specific “beats” they would hit (i.e. opening with “It’s Normal”, “Escape from Noise” somewhere in the middle, closing with “This is Not Normal”, and then Weatherman appearing over FaceTime for the encore) the rest of the show was entirely improvised. This meant no two shows were alike.
Despite so many active and former members dying in recent years I’m glad Mark is carrying the torch forward and keeping things going. Negativland has always been less about the actual people in the group - not surprising since people like Don Joyce and Richard Lyons played dozens of different characters - and more about the message. (I think David Wills is probably the most authentic of all - he may portray a few different personae - but whether he’s The Weatherman or The Clorox Cowboy - I don’t think there is really much separation between the character and the man.)
I had the privilege of seeing this show in Portland, having held tickets since before Covid. I have never seen an act that has existed for as long as Negativland put on such a socially and culturally relevant performance. It was a massive mindblower, and I am still a little in awe.
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