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The Casualties
Made In N.Y.C.
Side One Dummy
www.thecasualties.net


While I generally avoid live CD reviews, the last Casualties review I attempted was the Can't Stop Us concert DVD. That gives me extra reason to pass on this one. But once I heard the unusually high sound quality (for a punk show) and the enthusiastic hometown reaction, I had to say something. Can't Stop Us was great as a documentary, but jumped around quite a bit, with just snippets of songs and shows. Made In N.Y.C includes the entire Knitting Factory show nearly unedited and the interviews are short and topical bits on being a worm in the Big Apple. The DVD has fantastic sound except for the vocals, while the CD only lacks on the backing vocals. Jake Kolatis' engaging guitar lines bookmark every song with a distinct siren or street ditty, sometimes he ekes out a jig for good measure. Jorge Herrera barks like a chupacabra and perspires like Michael Moore at the Bohemian Grove sweat lodge. His shotgun-splatter hair eventually droops past the Cheney trajectory as drummer Meggers tries to avoid the blast. Meggers, it should be said, is a blurry-armed, overlooked talent in the caliber of your Josh Freeses.

While the emphasis is on the last album, the material spans seventeen years and concerns such topics as; unity, consumption of inebriants, rioting and warrior class as a metaphor for hooliganism. Yeah, they haven't broken any new ground, but they're nearly the only ones mining these fields currently. As they soldier on, the surprisingly diverse crowd goes completely apeshit. It's equal opportunity stage-diving with blokes landing on birds, Asians hob-nailing Hispanics, and the ever-popular, white males riding on the backs of African-Americans. Above all, it's an interactive, sing-along, mike-stealing maelstrom of simplistic street anthems with which this counter-sub-under-culture can identify. Their cover of The Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop" is amped up on energy drinks and pixie stix - something old, something new. In an endearing moment of missed points, they implore the crowd, "Don't let people tell you what to do…yell "Get Off My Back!"" or words to that effect. The boys do one "For The Punx" fo schnitzel, letting a 13 year old play guitar on the song. Look, its an assload of fun, a great place to start for newbies, and a must have for diehards.

-Ewan Wadharmi

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