Combustible Celluloid
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With: Dr. Know (a.k.a. Gary Miller), H.R. (a.k.a. Paul D. Hudson), Darryl Aaron Jenifer, Earl Hudson
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Richard Oretsky
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 60
Date: 18/03/2013

Bad Brains: Live at CBGB 1982 (2006)

4 Stars (out of 4)

The Big Takeover

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buy Bad Brains: Live at CBGB 1982 on DVD

If the makers of the upcoming theatrical documentary American Hardcore had really done their homework, they would have covered only one band, the band that all the other bands went to see: Bad Brains. Given that, this new DVD from Music Video Distributors is the real deal. In the true spirit of punk, the all-black band Bad Brains staged a three-night showcase at CBGB on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and December 26, just when all good Reaganites should have been nestled snug in their beds (ask any punk rocker from that place and time, and they claim to have been at these shows). While other hardcore bands thrived on mess, Bad Brains were frighteningly precise in their furious musicianship, bashing out catchy tunes faster than the Ramones. (Songs like "The Big Takeover," "Attitude" and others, played at half-speed, might have been radio hits.) Even more astonishing however, was the fact that every few songs the band would settle into a relaxing reggae groove with songs like "I and I Rasta" and "Rally Round Jah Throne." In 1982, Bad Brains released a legendary first album, recorded quickly on cassette, followed by two other excellent, professional studio albums Rock for Light (1983) and I Against I (1986) before slipping into a long and steady decline. But for a short burst they were among the most essential bands on the planet. Don't miss this, their peak moment.

DVD Details: MVD's superb DVD showcases an hour's worth of concert footage with impossibly good camerawork, lighting and sound for the chaotic experience these shows must have been. The disc comes with a bonus, audio-only track, the reggae classic "I and I Survive," and video interviews from the show itself. This is one of the best rock videos I've ever seen.

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