Some of the earliest punks in the mid to late 1970s soon grew tired of the limitations of the Ramones-style formula and began wandering into sonic byways that were still fueled by punk aggression but open to a wider range of musical experimentation. In Manhattan, the No Wave scene gave birth to such abrasively noisy and defiantly anti-rock combos as Lydia Lunch’s 8-Eyed Spy and funky post-punks Bush Tetras. One of the most charismatic No Wave performers was James Chance, a brash saxophonist-vocalist who led a series of bands that melded James Brown–inspired funk grooves with an arty, Beefheart-like angularity. As leader of James Chance & the Contortions, he perfected an approach that was busy and claustrophobic but always brainy and danceable. He brings the Contortions back to L.A. for the first time since 1982.
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