Monday, October 10, 2011

CD Review: The B52s “With The Wild Crowd–Live In Athens Georgia”

“Get serious get off the phone

Talk to me and make me moan

I said baby lose that phone

Rock me down to the jellybone.”

It’s hard to believe that a band that formed after an impromptu jam session brought on by sharing a ‘Flaming Volcano’ at a Chinese restaurant, released their studio debut in 1979, went on to have hit after hit and were known as the ultimate “party band” have never officially released a live album.

That oversight has been corrected with the release of The B-52s With the Wild Crowd: Live in Athens GA on October 11. The album was recorded live, in February 2011 at a concert celebrating the bands 34th anniversary of their first ever live show on Valentines Day 1977. The crowd was packed with wig-wearing, boa draped glitter-covered rabid fans. And they were not disappointed as the band delivered  hot, sexy rock and roll with the beat turned up to hot pink. The sizzling 90 minute set was packed with all their hits form the underground classic that brought them to the attention of Warner Bros. Records back in ‘79, Rock Lobster to the main stream mega-seller Love Shack.

The B-52s “Love Shack–Official Video”

Fueled by the trademark call and response vocals of Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, and Cindy Wilson, they took their over the top, slightly odd ball party band status up a notch. The album opens with “Pump”, off of their seventh studio album; 2008s Funplex . Next up is “Private Idaho”, the dance pop masterpiece about living in your own private little world, not paying attention to what’s happening around you. It takes us back to the bands second Top 100 hit from 1980, and the tune that inspired director Gus Van Sant’s title to the film, “My Own Private Idaho”. Next up is “Mesopotamia” from the 1981 EP of the same title, which was produced by the Talking Heads, David Byrne.

All in all, the CD contains eighteen songs and includes all the hits from the synth/drum machine experimentation of “Whammy Kiss” to the Billboard number three hit, “Roam”. With the Wild Crowd: Live in Athens GA is the band at their best, delivering their slightly skewed take on New Wave, post-punk and pop rock that made them chart toppers and one of the most good times live acts of the past 35 years. Don’t look for any deep meaning, social commentary or protest songs here – conspicuously absent are any tracks from their most outwardly political album, Good Stuff , though the band has often supported and been activists and fund-raisers for environmental, AIDS and animal rights causes for many years.  Their original guitarist, Ricky Wilson (Cindy’s brother) died of complications of AIDS/HIV, and this concert raised money for the Georgia State Theater. But their music was always rooted in good times, great tunes, wild and sexy romance, blood pumping grooves and fun. After nearly 35 years they are still going strong and can deliver the goods.

To catch them on the current tour, check out the bands web site. The show was also filmed in HiDef and will be released on DVD and Blu-ray in 2012, so be sure to look for it. the album is a killer time machine to transport you back to the ‘80s and the DVD is simply going to be one you won’t want to miss.


The Dirty Lowdown

Copyright © 2011 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved

No comments:

Post a Comment