"Ok, I was not born PUNK. I remember hearing early Black Flag and thinking "Who put the cat in the blender?" It was pure dread. It affected me in my teenage angst glory, it was heavy and it sunk in. I rebeled. The '80's were a plastic fantasy and Black Flag was the acid that ate it away. This album is the end of a grand era and a must for all fans and posuers alike. I should know I was both of them. Buy this album. Play it loud. Scream along with it. Torment your parents. Torment your kids. The world isn't a pretty place. Neither is Black fng Flag!"
Truly a Must-Have for enthusiasts of real punk...
Dokter Pogo | New Orleans | 02/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is what turned me onto the craziness of Henry Rollins, and the wildman guitar playing of Greg Ginn. The intensity of a live punk show is captured here, drawing you into the music and making you feel like you're up front, getting pulverized by the crowd and going deaf from the assault on your ears. The thing that I love about this album the most is that sometimes the songs seem like they're about to fall apart while the band is playing them, and just when you think it's all going to collapse, it snaps back together and punches you in the throat. What a rush! It makes you want to check out a live show of some noisy local band in a seedy club...and it's not often that music makes me want to get out of the house and spend money on a cover charge. For a live punk show, the production is incredible. The vocals are in your face, but not over the top. The drums and bass are tight, and the guitar weaves in and out of the spaces between them. Greg Ginn's solos make your hair stand on end. They twist and turn like a psychotic serpent, leaving you guessing where he's going to strike next. There's not one single "fast-forward" moment on this album, and you will find that it is entertaining from beginning to end."
You annihilated this week, and now you're thinking about buy
Mark Flood | Maryland | 11/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is what it is. It's a well recorded live performance of Black Flag playing mainly their Loose Nut era material. The songs are played at a higher pace than on the albums, which adds a slight degree of intensity to an already intense collection of material. If you've never bought a Black Flag CD before, this is a great place to start. If you already own a Black Flag CD or two, this will be a great compliment. If you already own the entire Black Flag discography and are just reading this page for fun, why not consider just buying another copy of Whose got the 10 1/2? You never know... it could could come in handy."
This album has it all over "Live '84"...
Chet L. Young | 11/14/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First of all, Black Flag is tighter here (thanks in no small part to the addition of Anthony Martinez, who--in my opinion--was the band's best drummer). Secondly, Henry Rollins had at last learned something about breath control. On "Live '84", he shouted until his voice gave out, after which he would simply grunt and mutter his way through the rest of the song; on "Who's Got the 10 1/2?", he actually sings. Finally, the material is better. As well as amped-up renditions of early Black Flag standards like 'Wasted' and 'Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie', you get a generous helping of songs from the "Loose Nut" album, most of which eclipse the studio versions: the wrathful 'Best One Yet', the gut-wrenching 'Sinking', and the uncharacteristic midpaced groove of 'Bastard in Love'. As always, Greg Ginn's guitar playing is fast and furious--and he's a far better songwriter than he has ever been given credit for. Bassist Kira Roessler, too, is in top form. "Live '84" has a certain sloppy charm, but check out "Who's Got the 10 1/2?" if you want to hear what Black Flag was really capable of doing onstage."
A mixed bag, but mostly full of good stuff
Erroneous | The radio wasteland of the Midwest | 10/26/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Just your typical "greatest hits played faster" live album. Just kidding.
First, the good:
The band is on fire through most of this, especially the rhythm section. The song selection cherry-picks the best of the often boring middle-period Flag, which can be excellent indeed. Examples include the extended "Slip It In/Gimme Gimme Gimme", "I'm The One", "Wasted" (a very early track), "Modern Man" and "Drinking And Driving" (from their last album}. And the sound quality is killer - all the instruments are well separated; the drums and bass have a LOT of punch, and are spot-on all the time, even when the guitar isn't. More on that below.
Second, the "ehh...":
Rollins' voice is totally SHOT on such tracks as "My War", due to excessive touring (I believe I heard a statistic like 250 days a year). "Sinking" is boring, frankly, but thankfully is one of the only plodding, ponderous tracks on the album. Fast and driving usually means high quality in the Black Flag catalog. Also, Ginn's playing can be a pretty sloppy, despite being extremely creative. And finally, although you can't hear it in her playing, you can imagine Kira suffering with carpal tunnel syndrome as she plays - a byproduct of Greg Ginn's maniacal insistence on practicing as much as eight hours a day, every day, when not touring (and probably when touring too). You can read more about this stuff in Michael Azerrad's excellent book "This Band Could Be Your Life" - I admit I'm cribbing some of this review from said source. Please don't hate me for doing so.
I hope the fact that the con section outweighs the pro wordwise doesn't dissuade you from buying the album. It's def. a worthy purchase, and you'll get a lot out of it if you enjoy the best that eighties punk had to offer. And by the way, go ahead and order the vinyl version direct from SST if you like (which is often the best way to go with SST titles, because of the better sound quality of the pure waveforms of vinyl), but this is a rare case in which the CD is better, due to the extended performances allowed by the CD format's longer length. (It says "extended CD version" on the back of the case.)"