Live at the China Club

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Recorded as something of a stopgap between albums, Live is just that, a great six-song document of the band in its 1990 incarnation, touching briefly on all its previous albums with fire and panache. Perhaps inevitably, "Anything, Anything (I'll Give You)" leads off the disc, and while it's a brilliant performance of a brilliant song, it's not the sole reason to pay attention (indeed, the even quicker rush of the live take may signal a desire on the band to get it over with). Another highlight of the first album, "Some Crazy Dame," barrels out nonstop from the speakers, sly cool and high-speed power intact, while the sly, Stooges quoting Box Office Bomb cut "Spare Change" gets a well-deserved rampage. Meanwhile, more recent history is touched on with a commanding rave-up and burn-down-the-house rip on "Last Cigarette," as well as another Stuck in Wonderamaland number, "Would You Like," its slow, reflective pace the one moment of breath in the otherwise nonstop rush of the EP. The one rarity is a fun, kicking version of "Private World," the New York Dolls classic, whose studio version didn't surface on a Dramarama release until the reissue of Box Office Bomb some years later. Easdale's vocal abilities really shine here, his just raspy enough but never burnt out singing taking deserved charge. Meanwhile, the Mr. E Boy/Wood guitar team blasts along loud and proud, one of the most underrated combinations since Rick Nielsen and Robin Zander of Cheap Trick first plugged in and fired up. Original drummer Jesse takes what turned out to be his final bow with the band here, style and power intact and still working hand in glove with bassist Carter. A full album would have been fantastic, but in its absence this is a more than fine substitute.

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