Agony Shorthand

Wednesday, April 16, 2003
THE BIRTHDAY PARTY "LIVE 1981-82"......This 1999 collection of BIRTHDAY PARTY live performances from the early 80s is a rarity in recorded music history -- the live record that actually bests the originals. Swear to god, this is a powerhouse of grunt and grime, and an excellent introduction to this band's ferocity. It features the "Prayers On Fire" and "Junkyard"-era Birthday Party barrelling through some of their hardest, most sinister demon blues numbers, in front of adoring European crowds who know a true original when they're watching it spazz out and fall down in front of their collective face. The bulk of this (ten of seventeen tracks) was recorded at The Venue in London in 1981, when these Australian transplants had their hair piled to the heavens & were slowly winning the hearts of every goth girl, dangerous noise lover and lowdown junkie freak. You don't get the glory of hearing songs from their subsequent peak releases, the "Mutiny!" and "Bad Seed" 12"EPs, but you do get a barking cover of The Stooges' "Funhouse" live in Greece. Could any other band pull off a cover of that track? Maybe UNION CARBIDE PRODUCTIONS in their heyday, but that's about it. Fantastic stuff. And I hate live records!