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
"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.
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