Ubu's first live recording is not your average live recording. That is, it's not a contract filler or a simple rehash of material, or an ersatz live document with lots of post-production sweetening; it is a warts'n'all snapshot of their career. This collection focuses on the years 1976-1979 and includes recordings from the very early days with Peter Laughner and Tim Wright. And because this is an aural history, completeness and representation are more important than state-of-the-art recording technology. That's a nice way of saying that some of the tracks (especially those recorded in 1976) are of a very lo-fi quality -- I'm talking portable cassette recorder quality. But that doesn't mean it impossible to enjoy the music; quite the contrary, the grubby sound enhances what were probably grimy, claustrophobic gigs. The song selection is top-notch (mostly from the Datapanik EP and The Modern Dance LP), and live, Ubu's edginess and gleeful avant-gardisms are in full effect. A great live album? Probably not, but its great moments ("Street Waves," "The Modern Dance" and "Heart of Darkness") are worth a considerable amount of your time.
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AllMusic Review by John Dougan