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  • Live 1981-82
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Live 1981-82 Live

15 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Live, November 16, 1999
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$50.04 $10.99

Editorial Reviews

Few bands were as cataclysmic, chaotic, and iconoclastic as Australia's Birthday Party. And while they spawned a few imitators (most notably Bogshead, Scratch Acid, and the short-lived "batcave" movement), their fractured sound and aura of wickedness were so far removed from the norm of early-'80s rock music that no group even came close to duplicating their murderous persona and manic, driving racket. Live 1981-82 collects 17 tracks from concerts in London, Germany, and Greece, and for a band whose music seemed to cling to sanity by the most delicate of threads, these recordings are surprisingly coherent and faithful to the album versions. Taking into account the barrage of feedback, the pile-driving bass, and singer Nick Cave's howling, the sound is also quite good (the only exception being the single cut from Greece, a cover of the Stooges "Funhouse"). As for the performances, the band is in excellent form. Cave delivers the songs with conviction and energy, punctuating them with his startling vocabulary of shiver-inducing screams, grunts, snorts, groans, and growls. Considering the schizophrenia that was so much a part of the band's music, Cave's ability to convincingly deliver his gut-wrenching angst is nothing short of remarkable. While Cave's Manson-meets-Morrison persona drew most of the attention, it was the Birthday Party's ability to swing--hard--that put them over the top. Drummer Phil Calvert is a beacon in the sea of chaos as guitarists Mick Harvey and Roland S. Howard disembowel their guitars, blasting shards of jazz and blues across the horizon. The late bassist Tracy Pew is the real revelation. Rock solid and never missing a beat, Pew emerges as the constant amidst the wreckage, providing the rich base from which these bad seeds sprung. Live 1981-81 is a near-perfect document of one of rock's most extreme, creative, and dangerous forces.--S. Duda

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
  1. Junkyard 6:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. A Dead Song 2:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. The Dim Locator 3:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Zoo - Music - Girl 3:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. Nick The Stripper 4:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. Blast Off! 2:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Release The Bats 3:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Bully Bones 3:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. King Ink 5:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. (Sometimes) Pleasure Heads Must Burn 2:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. Big - Jesus - Trash - Can 3:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
12. Dead Joe 3:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
13. The Friend Catcher 5:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
14. 6" Gold Blade 3:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
15. Hamlet (Pow, Pow, Pow) 5:11$0.99  Buy MP3 
16. She's Hit 7:11$0.99  Buy MP3 
17. Funhouse 8:29$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 16, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Live
  • Label: 4ad / Ada
  • ASIN: B00000IAGC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #283,517 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 10, 1999
Format: Audio CD
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...
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Braeden P. Jeffery on January 16, 2005
Format: Audio CD
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.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 14, 1999
Format: Audio CD
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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By filterite on April 2, 2006
Format: Audio CD
If you are brave enough to buy this CD, be prepared for this CD to scour your brain inside and out. It's fiendishly noisy. There was an old review I read on the internet with the band and Nick Cave had said that he was unimpressed with some of the recordings of that time because they did not capture the intensity of their live performances. After listening to this, I can see what he means. This is obnoxiously ferocious. The sort of take-no-prisoners live album that shreds it's instruments for an all-out aural assault. Some of the songs are virtually unrecognizable from their studio counterparts. While I've never gone to a Birthday Party concert, this CD would pretty much give me a clear indication about how it would be like. You could probably end up empty headed, sore and in desperate need of paraceteamol to cure that thumping headache. If you are brave enough to listen to this, make sure you have aspirin at the ready....because your headache could get nasty!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By yorgos dalman on July 2, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Nick Cave has always been one of these artists who is more than just a singer: he is a performer. He belongs on stage, in recent years with his Bad Seeds ensemble, and in the early years with The Birthday Party.

More punk rock orientated and with lyrics that seemd to be written more to be of a musical "guiding" function than to have any real literary pretentions, TBP is a live act al the way.

"The Birthday Party Live 81-82" offers two gigs, the first one in "The Venue" in London, the second one in Bremen, Germany. A nice but not all to memerable bonus track is included here, called "Funhouse", performed in Athens, Greece.

The first concerts gives you all the classic stuff: from the mind bending opener "Junkyard" which sets the tone for a "slambang-in-your-face evening", to "A dead song", and from the self-mockery of "Nick the Stripper", all the way to the blasting "Blast off!" and the biting "Release the bats".

The German gig has "Big-Jesus-trash-can", the hymn-for-a-car-wreck "Dead Joe", the theatrical spoof "Hamlet (Pow pow pow)" and a good performance of the hypnotic "She's hit".

So over fifty percent of the songs come from the quintessential "Junkyard", and, unfortunately, no songs from the last TBP output "Mutiny / The Bad Seeds", which is really a shame.

The live dvd "Pleasure heads must burn" however does contain live footages of songs from the last two E.P's like "Sonny's Burning", "The Six strings that drew blood", "Wild world" and "Pleasure avalanche".

Both CD and DVD are a must-have for everyone who still cherishes some nostalghia for the years with the maniacle and insane Caveman-with-the-blood-shed-eyes.
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