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Live 1981-82

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Editors’ Notes

Consisting of a London gig from 1981, a German show from 1982, and a version of The Stooges' "Funhouse" performed in Greece in 1982, Live 1981-82 is a definitive live album from a band that got even crazier in front of an audience. Considering the chaos found on The Birthday Party's studio albums, that's quite an endorsement. Singer Nick Cave may approach his job with the fervor of a Pentecostal preacher, but drummer Phil Calvert and bassist Tracey Pew represent the musical equivalents. The sonic clarity means "The Dim Locator," "Zoo Music Girl," and "Release the Bats" have never sounded better. "Dead Joe" grinds the notes into tiny pieces with a brutal, unflinching attack. It's impossible to convey the true power and anarchy present here. Few bands have ever attempted such freeform attacks on their instruments, their songs, and their performances. Guitarist Mick Harvey takes over on drums on the final tunes, including the long tortured wail of "She's Hit" and the groveling intensity of the muddily recorded "Funhouse." It's even more essential than The Birthday Party's studio releases.


Formed: 1977 in Melbourne, Australia

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s

The Birthday Party were one of the darkest and most challenging post-punk groups to emerge in the early '80s, creating bleak and noisy soundscapes that provided the perfect setting for vocalist Nick Cave's difficult, disturbing stories of religion, violence, and perversity. Under the direction of Cave and guitarist Rowland S. Howard, the band tore through reams of blues and rockabilly licks, spitting out hellacious feedback and noise at an unrelenting pace. As the Birthday Party's career progressed,...
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