Live Reviews

Bad Brains Live

Astoria – London

The last time HR graced us with his presence in London, i was just getting into hardcore at 17 and discovering that a new scene was there for me that would last a lifetime. This is the effect that Bad Brains had on me as a teenager, they knocked me for six when i least expected it.

As the years went by HR never returned and instead we had to watch people like Chuck Mosely fill HR’s boots in 1990 on the mic, but it never worked, i mean how can you replace such an individual? Despite this, Dr Know and Darryl Jennifer were not going to leave their childhood fun and carried on without the great man.

Tonight though, HR is back in the spotlight, his presence made the crowd roar as he shuffled onto the stage carrying what seemed like his life in shopping bags, dressed like E.T with a shaul over his face and sporting white sunnies!

They kicked off with classics such as I Against I and The Regulator to get the place rocking, followed by the supercharged Sailin’ On, Right Brigade and Attitude from their first 2 albums but these lethal tracks seemed to have some bite taken out of them at this show but no one seemed to really care.

Before the show, people hoping that they would not play too many songs from the brand new Adam Yauch produced record Build a Nation and they were not let down. The rastafarian vibes of Jah Love filled the Astoria with HR’s reverbed voice hitting each wall, this was followed by Universal Peace and were the only new tracks before a barrage of classics like I and I Survive, I Love Jah, Banned in DC, F.V.K, At The Movies and Re-Ignition got the place moving.

It’s true to say that the once explosive energy that this band used to generate has been slightly lost and mainly from HR’s presence. As they came back for the encore, people expected more than just Pay To Cum and some left the Astoria feeling that’s exactly what they did do. Moaning Brits aside, HR is in his 50’s and is not the ball of fire that he once was, but that doesn’t really matter. At least they made an effort to come back to the UK fullfilling most people’s dreams of seeing the OG line up rather than a circus band.

Jah Love to Bad Brains for that alone.