Gang Green

Can't Live Without It

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If Boston's beer-guzzling hardcore brawlers Gang Green were going to record a live album, you'd think it would have been at a Beantown home gig, but the 1990 edition of the band was instead captured for posterity in front of British audience during a gig in London. Can't Live Without It was recorded near the end of the group's original run, and serves as a de facto "Greatest Hits" set -- most of the band's best-known tunes are present and accounted for, including "Alcohol," "Let's Drink Some Beer," "Rabies," "Sold Out," and their beaten-to-a-pulp cover of 'Til Tuesday's "Voices Carry." (You've got to wonder, did Aimee Mann owe them money or something?) The metallic side of Gang Green's bratty style of hardcore was very prominent in their sound by this time (it couldn't have hurt that Josh Pappé of D.R.I. had signed on as bassist by this time), and while "Born to Rock" may have started out as a joke, by the time the guys are done with it on this set, the arena-friendly guitar figures and stop-on-a-dime final flourishes sound enough like the real thing to fool nearly anyone. There aren't a lot of surprises on Can't Live Without It, but the album documents Gang Green's frantic, booze-addled live sound with commendable accuracy, and the party-friendly end of '80s hardcore rarely sounded bigger, louder, or more wacky than this. The 2007 CD reissue tacks on two tracks which previously appeared on the compilation King of Bands, "Rub It in Your Face" and "Thunder."

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