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FRIDAY

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As much of its time as ahead of it, Wire never quite fit into anybody’s punk (or New Wave, for that matter) orthodoxy. Crypto-alienated art-school lads who specialized in jagged, angular guitar riffs and seemed to trade in their personalities after each record, the English quartet was conjuring up under-two-minute classics back when the Minutemen were still pure spiel. And in the almost exactly 24 years that have passed since the release of Wire’s sophomore classic, Chairs Missing, the record still sounds brand-new. “Outdoor Miner” is the best song the band will ever write, and “I Am the Fly” makes me wish I were 24 and drunk and living once again in Havertown, Pa., beside that cranky-ass ex-Pennsylvania state trooper who hated my guts. I’d crank it up at around, say, 4 goddamn o’clock in the a.m. and march around naked in his back yard singing, “I am the fly/I am the fly/I am the fly/I am the fly/The fly in the ointment!” Or maybe not; the old prick would’ve shot me dead. Anyway, the band has dissolved and regrouped a few times since its heyday, but unlike too many of their contemporaries, the guys in Wire are doing it for love, not money. And it seems age has not mellowed them: Wire’s latest release, Read & Burn, is easily the band’s fastest and loudest since its first, Pink Flag. Get totally Wired, with Oxes at 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $20. (202) 393-0930. (Michael Little)