Search - Birthday Party :: Live 1981-82

Live 1981-82
Birthday Party
Live 1981-82
Genres: Alternative Rock, World Music, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (17) - Disc #1

1999 compilation of live tracks recorded 1982 in England, Germany and Greece by Nick Cave's post-punk/pre-Bad Seeds outfit. 17 tracks total. Standard jewel case.


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CD Details

All Artists: Birthday Party
Title: Live 1981-82
Members Wishing: 5
Total Copies: 0
Label: 4ad / Ada
Original Release Date: 8/10/1999
Re-Release Date: 11/16/1999
Album Type: Live
Genres: Alternative Rock, World Music, Pop, Rock
Styles: Hardcore & Punk, Indie & Lo-Fi, American Alternative, New Wave & Post-Punk, Australia & New Zealand
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 652637900521


Album Description
1999 compilation of live tracks recorded 1982 in England, Germany and Greece by Nick Cave's post-punk/pre-Bad Seeds outfit. 17 tracks total. Standard jewel case.

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CD Reviews

The best band in the world, for a while there...
(5 out of 5 stars)

"All my Birthday Party LPs have sat gathering dust for over a decade, but the sight of this in the racks fired off neurons in the dusty corners of my brain. What an absolute moster of a band. For a while there nobody could touch them. I saw them in DC in 82, and this brought it all back. Now THIS is alternative, not Pearl Jam butchering some oldie that was lousy to begin with. Nick flagellates himself while the guitars test the limits of electricity, and the bass and drums thunder in unison, just barely holding the whole thing together... each song an emotional catharsis, wailing and shrieking until it lurches to a stop and twenty people clap. You don't dance to this music, you quiver and throb to it. So here's one to send all you Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson fans running back to mommy... Once upon a time there was a band called The Birthday Party, and they ruled the Kingdom far and wide..."
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A superlative live album. Previously, the only available live Birthday Party recordings were the "Drunk on the Pope's Blood" e.p and the legally dubious "It's Still Living". This far surpasses both not only in passion and sound quality but in song selection as well. The fan favorites like Junkyard and She's Hit are here of course, but some obscurities like Bully Bones (I think the only other recorded version of this is on one of the Peel Sessions) and songs of which live versions have never been released, such as The Friend Catcher and a cover of the Stooges' Funhouse (which sounds as much like L.A. Blues as it does Funhouse), are also represented. All the individual members are in fine form with Rowland Howard's guitar work being the stand out. Has there ever been another guitarist who could combine such fury and solicitude? And what more can be sai about Nick Cave? Besides being one THE great lyricists, he also happens to be a fantastic performer and a man of much deadpan & sardonic wit. How the multi-varied personalities of this group managed to combine into such a fearsome, coherant whole is one of life's great mysteries, but one for which we should all be thankful."
It's still living...
Braeden P. Jeffery | Melbourne, VIC Australia | 01/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Someone once said that you could tell the smart people at a Birthday Party concert, because they were the ones standing at the back. There were two advantages to being toward the back of the crowd at a BP performance - for one, you were less likely to sacrifice an eardrum to the squealing amps being pumped full of Rowland S. Howard's unique style of guitar playing. The other, more obvious advantage was that you were far less likely to get kicked in the face or hit on the head by Nick Cave.

The Birthday Party represent a style of music much missed in today's society. I'm not speaking so much of their genre, which is still present in this day and age (but is nowhere near as good), but rather the fact that their music was largely written for stage before studio, rather than the other way around. I bought "Hits" as my first taste of the BP a few months ago, and was impressed. The songs were intense. But then I got this, and realised that the studio recordings, despite Tony Cohen's best efforts, paled next to the work the BP did on stage.

The entire album is recorded in the wake of "Junkyard", and the classic hit (much to Nick Cave's endless puzzlement and frustration) "Release the Bats". It contains material ranging from 1979's "Hee-Haw" through to "Junkyard", including a few tracks which never made it to the studio. The quality varies - the London material is brilliant, but the Bremen concert has been quite noticably sourced from cassette. The Athens track is the worst quality, and I'm pretty sure it and the Bremen material are bootlegs which the band have bought. None of it's unlistenable, however, provided that you have a taste for the Birthday Party's style of music.

The Birthday Party, it must be said, never quite got the idea of rhythm. Oh sure, there are a lot of drums, but that doesn't mean that they keep the time or anything. Tracey Pew (bass) is the only member of the group who could or would keep the beat. Mick Harvey and Rowland S. Howard (guitars) just kind of seem to play thunderous riffs at will and Phil Calvert is in blistering form on his drums, but he plays them more as a lead than the rhythm section.

And as for Nick Cave...well - it seems a bit like he's decided how he's going to sing the lyrics, and no-one better try stop him. Doesn't matter to him that the music and lyrics are completely out of time. But that's what the BP so great. Take "A Dead Song" for example. It's heavy, thunderous, and both lyrics and music. But neither really seem to influence the other. It's...well, wierd. Better descriptions escape me.

Not all the songs are like that, of course. "The Dim Locator" was a pleasant surprise, with Cave and the musicians almost seeming to have come to an agreement on how to perform together. The band even manage to sound almost rhythmic, with the primal drum and bass lines of tracks like "Zoo-Music-Girl" (one of the truly oddest songs about love ever written) and "Release the Bats".

"King Ink" was a song that I never really appreciated on the studio record, but here I've discovered a new fondness for it. "Pleasure Heads" is a track that is worth the purchase of this CD alone, with the BP in rare form with this stage only track.

For me, though, the highlight is the stunning rendition of "The Friend Catcher" from the Bremen concert. This track, one of the group's first, spanning back to their days as the Boys Next Door, is given a new dimension on stage that it was sorely lacking on record. It's truly stunning. It's so easy to picture Cave flinging his head back and forth as he screams "Hee-haw-hee-haw" and Mick Harvey and Rowland S. Howard on either side of him nailing a dual-guitar riff throughout the whole song. This CD - this song in particular - brings the experience of a Birthday Party concert to life.

If I had to make one complaint about this album, then it would have to be that it's too early in the band's career. If some of the 1981 material - maybe "Bully Bones", or "Blast Off" - had been traded out for something from "Wild World" and/or "Sonny's Burning"...that would really have been something. The material was there on the "Pleasure Heads Must Burn" live video, and it would have just made this album a bit better.

But other than that, there's just nothing bad to say about this album - provided you like the music, of course. The BP are something of an acquired taste, but if Nick Cave screaming and Rowland S. Howard inducing orgasmic screams from his six strings doesn't give you a headache...then this album is a must have."