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Live at Montreux 1980

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Album Review

A staple on the pub rock and new wave live circuits since their inception in 1976, Rockpile didn’t record a record under their own name until 1980, by which time the tensions between co-leaders Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe were beginning to reach a boiling point. They split not long after the ’80 release of their lone studio album, Seconds of Pleasure, an LP they were supporting when they appeared at the Montreux Jazz Festival in August of 1980. That set was released 31 years later by Eagle Rock as the appropriately named Live at Montreux 1980, marking the first official live Rockpile release (not to mention the second official Rockpile album overall). Even if Rockpile were close to the end, they never play as if there were friction, charging headlong into their set from the moment “Sweet Little Lisa” kicks off the 16-song set list. Betraying the group’s origins as an Edmunds backing band, the concert weighs heavily in Dave’s favor — he has ten songs compared to Nick’s three, with Billy Bremner singing “Trouble Boys” and "You Ain't Nothin' But Fine" — which means it’s a straightforward rock & roll romp, relying on Chuck Berry and Eddie Cochran, relegating power pop to a passing mention with “Teacher Teacher” and “Girls Talk.” This isn’t a complaint, it’s a characteristic, and the group is in prime fighting form here, tearing through the set with muscle and purpose. Perhaps there are better Rockpile boots floating around in the ether, but there are no complaints with this tremendously entertaining set.


Formed: 1976

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s

During the late '70s, Rockpile was the touring band for both Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe. Like Edmunds, the band was passionate about traditional rock & roll. Like Lowe, the band played with a reckless, trashy abandon. Driven by the powerful rhythm section of drummer Terry Williams and Lowe's bass, guitarists Billy Bremner and Edmunds were free to spit out crushing rock, blues, rockabilly, and country licks. With their fierce live energy and unpretentious rock & roll, the band fit easily into the...
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Live at Montreux 1980, Rockpile
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