Saturday, September 13, 2008

Various Artists: The Roxy London WC2 (Jan – Apr 77) (Harvest LP). This classic reissue is hardly a stellar live record, but it is a piece of history well worth owning. Unlike various other re-issues (i.e. a 1991 version on Receiver) this is a track for track reproduction of the original, “seminal” 1977 version – at the time little more than a dressed up promotional package for the club. Thirty years later, it is a record that is synonymous with the very notion of UK punk. The sound quality is shit, and there is as much crowd hubbub as music. But who in their right mind does not need live tracks by arguably the three best UK punk bands of all time: Wire, the Buzzcocks and X-Ray Spex recorded at their brilliant, best moment? Least we not forget there are tracks by the Adverts, the Unwanted and Eater, three bands that were perhaps not great, but certainly played great music that I love as much now as I did at age 18/19 when I first purchased singles by all these bands. I did not love joke-punker Johnny Moped or Slaughter and the Dogs. The later seemed little more than faux-Mott/Dolls at a time (1977/78) when there was an avalanche of guitar noise collapsing upon the once safe, sound music industry. I believed a revolution was at hand (the second in 2 decades from my perspective), and I had little patience for those who were not part of my personal solution. Though I understood them to be musically 2nd rate next to Wire or the Buzzcocks, Eater epitomized militant punk revolutionary correctness. Their “Thinking of the USA”/”Space Dreaming”/”Michael’s Monetary System” 7’ E.P. was The Velvet Underground & Nico contracted into a six minute burst format. Included on The Roxy London are two of their anti-anthems: “15” and “Don’t Need It” which likewise suggest what they represented for their brief time at storm’s center.