Bad Brains – “Live” (1988)

I’m on a bit of a self-imposed record buying hiatus at the moment.  My shelves are nearly full and I haven’t decided how to rectify that situation yet, though it will likely involve a significant reduction in the number of books I have and a trip to Ikea.  Plus Iceland Airwaves is right around the corner, and I know I’ll be going on a vinyl bender while we’re in Stockholm and Reykjavik.  But I can’t just not blog… believe me, dear reader, while I’m grateful to those of you who read this stuff (and please, feel free to send me an email and say “hi!” because sometimes I wonder if anyone actually does read this stuff), I do it as much for me as I do it for you.  I’m obsessed with music, and I’m obsessed with writing, and if I didn’t have this outlet my wife would probably lose her mind because the words have to get out somehow.


With that in mind I’ve been poking around my shelves looking for the overlooked, the early purchases from before I started Life in the Vinyl Lane, the hidden gems that haven’t been on the table in a while and that have never graced the blog.  Yesterday that record was Blank Generation; today it’s Bad Brains’ Live.

I won’t lie – I’ve never been a Bad Brains guy.  Though to be fair this is primarily due to pure ignorance on my part.  I know they were big influences for a lot of musicians, especially for those in the DC punk scene, and H.R.’s high energy performances on the mic are legendary.  But for some reason Live is the first and so far only one of their albums I’ve ever owned.  Go figure.

Punk rock, hardcore, metal, and reggae, all put into a blender with no lid on top.  That’s what Live is like, spraying music and vocals all over the place at high speed.  I’m actually surprised at how metal this album is.  The sound quality is decent, maybe a touch heavy on the low end, but that’s cool and it fits Bad Brains’ sound.  And damn their pure reggae is hot as hell too.  As much as I dig their hard stuff, I think I might even like their reggae more, so I may have to do a bit more research into that area and figure out which Bad Brains album to buy next.