The Lords of the New Church

Live at the Spit

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Although they are well remembered for any number of things, the sheer power and vivacity of the in-concert Lords of the New Church often slip through the cracks -- a casualty, perhaps, of so many classic studio recordings allied with an inordinate amount of lo-fi live recordings. This set, dating from the band's 1984 American tour, is the album that redresses the balance, a soaring performance that hits all the right high notes, at the same time delivering the sound quality that the band deserved. A full third-album era set includes all of the expected classics, from the scene-setting "Method to My Madness" to the closing "New Church." In between times, there may be too much attention paid to that third album (not their finest by a long chalk), but the performances outstrip the weakness of some of the material, and the set is in any case pocked with jewels -- "Dance With Me," "Open Your Eyes," "Livin' On Livin'," "Live for Today." And frontman Stiv Bators is in electrifying form, both clashing and cuddling a rabid Boston audience as the show progresses and putting the lie to all the claims that his earlier Dead Boys were a hotter live proposition. As Live at the Spit marches on, the Lords are revealed to be among the finest on-stage revelations of their age.