The Circle Jerks burst onto the explosive early-'80s L.A. punk scene with vocalist Keith Morris fresh from a short-lived stint in the legendary Black Flag, who were notorious for their raucous, riot-police-infested live shows. The Circle Jerks earned their credibility and reputation in much the same way; with energy-packed, near-riot-status live performances. While Gig was recorded about a dozen years after their inception, the Circle Jerks live shows still proved to be edgy and exciting, although a little less riot-police prone than their early days. Through a handful of shows in Southern California and Mexico, they manage to document their ear-splitting, sarcasm-laced legacy with sustained energy and a tightly coiled attack. Guitarist Greg Hetson, now serving in the still surviving Bad Religion, plays with the speed of his early days and the skill that results from years spent honing his craft. Keith Morris' sandpaper yowl and sarcastic wit survived their hard-lived years as well, with his legendary storytelling and midsong improvisations setting the Circle Jerks apart from the tough-guy mentality that often pervades the punk scene. Rhythm section Keith Clark and Zander Schloss provide a thundering backdrop for some of the heaviest and most scathing punk rock to come out of the '80s. Punk purists might cringe at the slightly metal influence that they adopted in the mid-'80s, but these years also contributed to the development of their sonically brutal live spectacle, and all the bases are thoroughly covered on Gig. Early favorites like "High Price on Our Heads" and "When the Shit Hits the Fan" embrace the incendiary past and offer listeners the chance to hear them the way they were meant to be: live, loud, and thoroughly obnoxious. Many songs from their mid- to late-'80s heyday make the live cut as well. The ironic "I Don't" and mainstream media critical "Casualty Vampires" take on even more visceral energy than their studio-recorded versions. This recording roars to a close on an old-school note with the anthemic "Wild in the Streets" and the last-second touch of Morris breaking up a fight between some overzealous fans with his razor-sharp tongue. Gig proves yet again that punk rock is meant to be experienced live, and if you missed the Jerks in their heyday, this is the next best thing.
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AllMusic Review by Paul Henderson