The Dome, London
26th July 2012
Sadly The Dome is dishearteningly only three quarters full tonight for this rare London gig from classic Texan hardcore outfit Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, touring to celebrate thirty years’ service to hardcore punk and thrash. D.R.I. are, without doubt, one of the most important and influential hardcore bands to have spewed out of America in the early eighties. So where was everybody?! Their first EP released in 1982 crammed twenty-two songs onto one 7” EP and it redefined hardcore. The songs were intensely short and fast, bristling with anger and venom. Likewise, their first full album ‘Dealing With It’ came armed with a better production but was just as pissed off and vengeful.
After that the band, like most hardcore bands of the early eighties, started incorporating more metal and rock elements into their sound. Some did this more successfully than others and thankfully, D.R.I. made the transition better than most, alongside bands like C.O.C., Ludichrist and The Crumbsuckers, they spearheaded the ‘Crossover’ movement within the thrash metal scene and combined the socially aware lyrical content of punk with longer, more complex songs influenced by the first wave of thrash bands such as Metallica, Exodus and Anthrax.
Tonight’s set is drawn from every era of the band’s long career, although thankfully it leans heavily on their early material, which despite some good moments on later albums, it’s still the first few recordings that pack the most punch. Tonight, with original singer Kurt Brecht still pacing the stage and spitting out the lyrics with the attitude and venom of a man half his age, D.R.I. play for over an hour and half, a set that includes god knows how many songs all played at hyper-speed and with ultimate precision. Not bad for a band in their 30th year. On top of that, original guitarist Spike Cassidy has recently made a full-recovery from a terrible brush with cancer and plays every song with a look of pure joy on this face. This is a man that probably never expected to get to get the chance to play these songs again and his happiness infects the whole room.
Despite the venue not being as rammed as the band might have liked it to be, those in attendance go completely crazy and and respond to classics like ‘I Don’t Need Society’, ‘Couch Slouch’ and ‘Snap’ with a tornado of energy at the front of the stage as the band feed off the crowd’s lunacy and respond accordingly.
Still dirty and rotten after all these years. Long may these imbeciles reign!
WORDS: James Sherry