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Live from the Bowery

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Album Review

Glam rock icons the New York Dolls built their fame on two near-perfect '70s albums before disintegrating into several decades of solo projects and an ever-growing legacy. The Dolls released more new original material since their 2004 reunion than they did even in their salad days, with three studio albums and several live recordings in the five years that led up to Live from the Bowery. It's no wonder, then, that the set list for this date is heavier on the band's post-reunion material and runs through only a few obligatory renditions of the classics. Over three decades after their creation, original trash rockers like show-opener "Looking for a Kiss," "Who Are the Mystery Girls?," and "Personality Crisis" are untouchable classics, and the band (the two surviving founding members David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain joined by a host of backing players) is in great form, slightly less sloppy and dangerous than its earliest days, but raw and rocking all the same. The newer songs are neither embarrassing nor incredibly out of touch, a rare feat for any band reuniting years after its glory days. Songs like "Funky But Chic" and "I'm So Fabulous" don't have the same bite or swagger of the early songs, but are rugged fun with a somewhat updated big-city grit to them. The maudlin ballad "Kids Like You" is perhaps the most mature and interesting of the Dolls' new songs, with Johansen reflecting on the younger generation with wistful nostalgia in a husky Tom Waits-ian croon.


Formed: 1971 in New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '00s, '10s

The New York Dolls created punk rock before there was a term for it. Building on the Rolling Stones' dirty rock & roll, Mick Jagger's androgyny, girl group pop, the Stooges' anarchic noise, and the glam rock of David Bowie and T. Rex, the New York Dolls created a new form of hard rock that presaged both punk rock and heavy metal. Their drug-fueled, shambolic performances influenced a generation of musicians in New York and London, who all went on to form punk bands. And although they self-destructed...
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