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“Live At CBGB 1982” by Bad Brains

Artist: Bad Brains
Title: “Live At CBGB 1982”
Label: Music Video Distributors
Release Date: 9/26/2006
Genre: Hardcore Punk
Rating: 3/5

The year was 1982 and the Hardcore Punk scene was in full bloom withone of the main places to witness the intensity of this scene being C.B.G.B.’s. One of the seminal bands that performed at the venue would be the Bad Brains and this DVD takes selections from a course of three nights as they headlined the Hardcore Festival which was being hosted there. Needless to say this is a hurricane of Hardcore power from start to finish and while I can admit that this was not my thing – you truly don’t need to be a fan of the band or the scene to appreciate and enjoy the level of energy and drive that the group gave during a live performance. As soon as it begins the slamming is happening on and off the stage and the bodies are everywhere as the audience continually jumps onto the band area only to dive into their fellow fans. There are parts where singer H.R. is slamming with them. If you have ever seen the inside of C.B.G.B. you know that it is not huge where all this takes place and given the amount of people you see in the crowd this was a totally full house. When this scene was at its zenith a full house at the venue was not uncommon and the craziness is captured to perfection on this film. The band is tight for what they do and while most of the numbers are their hardcore staples, they even mix it up to play a few of their Reggae numbers. It’s a unique dynamic to see such different genres portrayed during the same short set especially at this time. Taking this for what it is, which is a straight live performance with limited fluff to it (well it was 1982 after all) this is a really good release. It offers fans of the band a large amount of their songs and the music historian a great measure of a point in time. Bad Brains footage of this quality has been impossible to find and now thanks to the MVD folks that is no longer the case. Among the highlights on the DVD would be “Riot Squad” and “How Low Can A Punk Get”, also at one point the club loses light by blowing a fuse and the band keeps playing in total darkness. The release comes with some bonus interview segments but they are nothing really to speak of. Get a glimpse back into musical history with this release.
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