Thursday, 22 May 2008

JUDGE: live at The Anthrax MP3 upload...

To complement the great quality Judge live video from the Anthrax posted on Double Cross, I've uploaded the entire set in MP3. A lot of you have probably already heard this, but for those who haven't, check it out:

Download here.

I'm not gonna get too heavily into the Chung King vs Bringin It Down debate, but GENERALLY I lean towards the former, since it was the first Judge recording I heard. An old friend made me a tape that had the Lost And Found bootleg of the Chung King sessions on, and it was a defining album for me when I was first getting into hardcore. On the same tape was the Together comp, a NY Hoods demo, Slapshot: Back On The Map AND... the first 25 Ta Life 7".

Right now, I probably listen to this live set and the radio set more than either album. It's rare that a live recording can sound this good! I usually don't like live hardcore records, and generally think they're fairly pointless. You can't really appreciate how good the show was, and they usually just sound like bad versions of the records but with the vocals flittering in and out as the frontman tries to catch his breath or drops the mic. There are exceptions though, and this is one of them. It's filled with rage and energy. Mike paces himself, and his voice sounds as strong, if not stronger, than on the studio versions.

Some random thoughts: I don't think Judge were the kind of 'militant' band they're sometimes portrayed as. There is a strong outsider element to Mike's vocals and lyrics, and they can't be easily pigeonholed alongside their more positive contemporaries. He never felt truly at home in the scene that he was so central to at the time, and which seemed so inclusive and positive (from the inside), and had more in common with hard rock bands and country singers than he did with clean-cut positive hardcore kids. Just trace the progression in subject matter in the lyrics, from the group-minded rally crys of New York Crew to the jaded outlook in Where It Went. I guess a similar progression can be seen in Choke's lyrics (from "me and my brothers, we're one and the same" in Last Rights, to "how did things get by me, now I'm too old to start" in Slapshot)...

I couldn't find the flier for this show, so here's one with a similar line up. Perhaps the mis-spelling of Biscuits was a sign of the fruitier direction they were heading in...

On a completely unrelated note, pick up the D.O.N.D.O.N. LP reissue on Schizophrenic Records. a Japanese hardcore near-classic. I'll wait out for an original day.

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