Agony Shorthand

Monday, August 04, 2003
SCIENTISTS : “LIVE PARIS 6-14-85”….Man, I’d forgotten how great THE SCIENTISTS were. This bootleg of a 1985 Paris live set gave me ample reason to remember, however. Kim Salmon & co. roar through their classic “Blood Red River” and “This Heart Doesn’t Run On Blood…”-era material in front of an enthusiastic French crowd, and go ballistic with so much feedback and whine that they actually blow out the club’s circuits during the opening “Nitro”. Couldn’t have invented a more apt kickoff, could you? It’s telling when listening to realize just how many bands – especially in the past 5-8 years – have aped The Scientists' muddy blues-buzzed garage punk, even more so when these guys were often (wrongly) dismissed as mere CRAMPS clones when they morphed into their deadliest incarnation a couple years before this show. This set really has it all: “Set It On Fire”, “When Fate Deals Its Mortal Blow” (still my fave Scientists tune), “Lead Foot”, and a churning, ear-bleeding encore of “Murderess In a Purple Dress”. It wasn’t long after this era that they started down the “when good bands start to suck” path with the EP “Human Jukebox” and then packed it in by 1987. In case you, like me, needed to get reacquainted with the band’s masterworks, I’d strongly recommend the “Blood Red River 1982-1984” CD and taking it from there.