Along with Iggy & the Stooges' Metallic K.O., Devo Live: The Mongoloid Years has to be one of the most confrontational live albums ever. The album is culled from ancient live tapes, which document three early concerts (New York City 1977, Akron 1976, and Cleveland 1975). The NYC gig shows the band at their most confident and consistent, slamming out early classics like "Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA" and "Satisfaction," while the Akron concert is just as excitable (highlighted by an outstanding, unlisted version of "Timing-X"). The Cleveland show was their first ever, and it is where the true mayhem resides on The Mongoloid Years. Devo was hired as a gag, to open up for Sun Ra at a local radio station's Halloween party. But no one gets the joke as the band continually assaults their shocked and befuddled audience, with computerized noise blasts ("Subhuman Woman") and grating vocals ("Beulah"). The crowd shows their appreciation by throwing beer cans and other debris at them. One audience member goes as far as pulling the plug on the band, and threatens to beat up a Devo member (all clearly captured at the end of "Jocko Homo/I Need a Chick"). Certainly not a CD for the faint of heart.
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato