Sundance To Whip It Good: Devo Set To Play Park City As Band Docu Debuts At Snowy Fest

EXCLUSIVE: Devo will be coming to the Sundance Film Festival in more ways than one.

Just one day after the Chris Smith-directed documentary about the new wave band makes its SFF debut in Park City on January 21, Devo will be taking the stage at the newly opened Marquis on the luxury ski town’s Main Street, I’ve learned.

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At $50 a pop for general admission and $150 for VIP, tickets for the gig should be going on sale now. As Dave Grohl and Nick Cave can tell you, Sundance has long been a magnet for big-name bands and performers with films on their careers in the festival, so the Devo show was rumored ever since SFF’s lineup was revealed on December 6.

Coming off the band’s 50th anniversary last year, the gig opening for Paul Oakenfold is a bit of a return to an old stomping ground for the “Whip It” boys. Devo infamously closed out the 1996 Sundance Film Festival. Dress in striped prison suits and the band’s trademark red energy dome hats, the show has gone into lore and was even released as a Butch Devo and the Sundance Gig film of its own.

Formed in 1973 by Kent State students Mark Mothersbaugh, Gerald Casale and Bob Lewis, Devo challenged the very concept of what a band was, what a show was and who the audiences were. In that vein the band were heralded by David Bowie and Neil Young and charmed many more with their very distinct cover of the Rolling Stones’ classic “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” in 19778, which they played on Saturday Night Live the following year. Devo hit the Top 40 in 1980 with the instant classic of their own, “Whip It,” from the Freedom of Choice album.  

Although Mothersbaugh went on to be the music behind a number of Wes Anderson films along with the likes of Pee-wee’s Playhouse and Rugrats, plus a stint on the beloved Yo Gabba Gabba, the band continued to tour on and off through various incarnations up until the present day.

DEVO joins documentaries on fellow music legends like Brian Eno and Luther Vandross this year. The DEVO docu has five screenings at SFF, including a January 26 and January 28 shows in Salt Lake City.

DEVO is a Library Films / VICE STUDIOS production in association with Mutato Entertainment, presented by BMG, Undeniable (a Fremantle label), and Warner Music Group. Cinetic is repping the film for sales and manages director Smith.

The 2024 Sundance Film Festival runs from January 18- 28.

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