David Peel

R&R Outlaw Japan Tour 2003: Electric Version

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If the companion CD to this disc, R&R Outlaw Japan Tour 2003: Electric Version, is David Peel and this lineup of his Lower East Side Band is somewhat restrained, this combination of punk rock/psychedelic magic is mayhem and pandemonium in a very good way, out of control rock that is infectious and most welcome. The 13-minute "Space -- Free Tommy Chong" has guitars reaching into psychedelic outer space before the song descends into a repetitive "Free Tommy Chong" mantra, which is exactly what one suspects and expects from Peel. If you've followed this '60s/'70s rock revolutionary figure for all of ten minutes it takes little imagination to figure out what his next lyric will be, but the surprise is in the playing. Behind the stoned-out village idiot persona the song titles conjure up is a clever and right-on rock & roll experience that has vibe, groove, and that essential intuitive "something" that makes for repeated spins. That this Lower East Side features Japanese musicians Rie Miyazaki on bass and Yasuyuki Watanabe on drums, not to mention Captain Trip record exec Ken Matsutaniof the band Marble Sheep on guitar, speaks volumes about how Peel is able to cross the Pacific and find people to complement his energetic and so-very-New York rock & roll sensibilities. The disc rocks with authority and has tons of humor to go along with the endless party. "The Yuppie Ghetto (Die Yuppie Scum -- Chant)" takes the Seeds "Pushin' Too Hard" bassline, morphs it into something somewhat new, and flavors the jangly guitars with a fuzztone hootenanny that feels like club CBGB's got transplanted to Tokyo. With Peel's output being so vast, and oftentimes repetitive, college radio fans of the Velvet Underground and Nirvana -- fans who cross generations -- might fail to pick up on what a marvelous find the music at play here truly is. That would be an error because everything they are looking for is at work on the music here, culled from a bunch of live performances taped in December of 2003 -- gritty guitars that dip into fuzz, echo and pure psychedelia, throbbing drums and bass, and a relentless groove that makes the odes to John Lennon, marijuana, and the Pope a perpetual treat.

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