Devo Basks in Windy Beachlife

Photos by Bobby Rivero

By the time we posted this, it's fairly common knowledge that the Beachlife Festival on Redondo Beach had been forced to cancel the Sunday evening portion of the program, including headliner My Morning Jacket, due to high winds. The decision was made alongside the Redondo Beach Police and Fire Chiefs, and wasn't taken lightly.

It's a shame that the event was forced to end on a downer, because the rest of it was clearly a success. MC's publisher was there on Friday, and he was lavish with his praise for former Police man (as opposed to policeman) Sting.

The setlist was a stunner, opening with "Message in a Bottle," and taking in classics like "Englishman in New York," "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic," "Fields of Gold," "Walking on the Moon," and "Roxanne," before closing with "Every Breath You Take."

Sting looked great and sounded better and, with a lot of Police in the set, what more could you want?

On the Saturday, we caught a bit of Orange County indie rockers Local Natives on the Hightide Stage, and Jon Snodgrass (Armchair Martians, Scorpios, Drag the Rover) on the little Speakeasy Stage (along with a free sample of Grillo's Pickles), and both were easy to listen to on the sand.

But nothing was going to top Devo.

Last year, when the band announced that they would no longer be touring, we wondered what that meant for their overall future. They played L.A. at the end of last year's run, and were we left pondering the idea that we might not ever see them on a stage together again. They quickly knocked that notion on the head. "Not touring" doesn't mean "not playing," and a local festival date means that they don't have to be away from their families. Not for long, anyway.

At Beachlife, Devo was magnificent. A fan near us was heard remarking, "I've seen them a lot in the past few years, and they've never been better than this."

The band just seemed to be on it from the opening "Don't Shoot (I'm a Man)," off of the most recent studio album -- 2010's Something for Everybody. That's a great tune, and the perfect way to ease in. No need to dive into the hits too soon.

The classics did follow though: "Girl U Want," the post-punk brilliance of "Mongoloid," the call-and-response anthem that is "Jocko Homo," the perfect "Gates of Steel," and, naturally, "Whip It."

Their minimalist interpretation of the Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" remains one of the great covers, and they also pulled out their brilliant version of Johnny Rivers' TV-themed "Secret Agent Man."

It was, quite frankly, all the Devo we could ask for. Are we not men?

DEVO Setlist BeachLife Festival 2024, 50 Years of De-Evolution