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Live At CBGB 1982 (The Audio Recordings)

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Album Review

It's common knowledge among punk and hardcore fans that the mighty Bad Brains were one of the greatest live acts of all time. But unless you were lucky enough to have witnessed the original lineup during the '80s, you were in danger of having missed the legend. Bad Brains performances after the late '80s were hit-or-miss affairs (due in large part to their unpredictable singer, H.R.). Now, there is finally proof that backs up the aforementioned claim — the fantastic 2006 DVD Live: CBGB 1982. During the holiday season of 1982, the Bad Brains performed a trio of shows (supported by the likes of Minor Threat and the pre-Beastie Boys band the Young and the Useless) at their home away from home, CBGB's. The shows were wild and widely praised as among the finest the group ever did. Compiling standout performances from the three shows, Live: CBGB 1982 presents a faithful snapshot of the pandemonium of a hardcore punk show from around this time — slam dancers often storm the stage and scream lyrics into the mike. The band is at the top of its game (especially H.R.), with explosively high-energy readings of the punk classics "Big Take Over," "Right Brigade," "Banned in D.C.," and "Pay to Cum," as well as such reggae detours as "King of Glory," "The Meek," and "Rally Round Jah Throne." The camera work may be a bit jumpy — it appears to be mostly a two-camera shoot (a stationary camera from behind the audience and a hand-held camera on-stage) — and the cameramen hardly ever shoots bassist Darryl Jenifer at all. Regardless, Live: CBGB 1982 makes it all the more baffling why the Bad Brains are one of rock's all-time most underrated live acts — there's simply no comparison between the quartet's performance here and the majority of performances by other rock bands from this era.

Customer Reviews

The good old days

Amazing! I was at this show and this recording takes me right back to the darkness and joy that was CBGB. Just amazing!


Formed: 1979 in Washington D.C.

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

By melding punk with reggae, Bad Brains became one of the definitive American hardcore punk groups of the early '80s. Although the group released only a handful of records during its peak, including the legendary cassette-only debut, Bad Brains, they developed a dedicated following, many of whom would later form their own hardcore and alternative bands. As for Bad Brains themselves, they continued to record and tour in varying lineups led by guitarist Dr. Know into the late '90s yet never managed...
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