Due to the very nature of punk gigs, live recordings of them are often highly disappointing. Either the results are marred by inaudible vocals or so much re-recording has been done that they can hardly be called live albums anymore. So the claims sometimes made for 'The Youth Are Getting Restless' as "the greatest live punk album"could be misleading. This is far from the best of a bad bunch. It is, in fact, a truly stunning album from one of the most influential bands of recent times. Bad Brains have been cited in everything from underground emo-albums to the Buffy TV show.

The Rastafarian group – now reformed under the name Soul Brains – were part of the first wave of American punks. The extreme live shows of these groups led to the whole movement being refused bookings at nearly all East Coast venues. As track 11 explains, Bad Brains were quite literally ‘Banned in D.C.’ at one point. They have, however, been largely forgotten by the modern day punk movement. While in the UK punk has established links to reggae, their switches from blistering noise to slow dub in the middle of albums and their ‘All Praises To Jah’ stance isolates them from large swathes of the often highly conservative US scene.

If you’ll excuse the awful pun it’s true that you can often judge a band by their covers. While modern rockers choose ‘ironic’ renditions of pop staples to butcher in a quest for MTV airplay the tracks on '...Restless' are inspired. They are treated as proper songs rather than throwaway jokes. One of the album highlights is a dub ‘Day Tripper’ which slides into a version of the Stones ‘She’s A Rainbow’ only heard before in Marianne Faithfull’s most drugged out dreams.

Much of the beauty of this album is its crisp production – not just for a live gig but in general. The roadies must have been having an exceptionally good night. Equally you can almost hear the sweat dripping from the band. While my prejudices might lead me to expect a group of Rastafarians in Amsterdam to be, well...a bit chilled out, when the band launch into their classics like ‘Big Takeover’ and ‘Fearless Vampire Killer’ there are few before or since who can touch them for sheer ferocity.

There are those who claim live albums in general are pointless exercises. They have obviously never listened to this.













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