The Nerves

Live! At the Pirate's Cove, Cleveland, Ohio: May 26, 1977

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Following up One Way Ticket, the 30-years-awaited retrospective by under-recorded L.A. power pop legends the Nerves, Alive unearths a Cleveland gig from an era when unsigned, unpromoted bands rarely hit the road. (Two weeks later, they played four nights at New York's Max's Kansas City.) If the Nerves seem singularly energetic on this 12" vinyl, it's because the trio was staying with Pere Ubu's hospitable David Thomas and playing two shows at Pirate's Cove in the flats, one with Ubu, the other with the barely known Devo. Not bad. The sound is a little muffled, but not terribly so, plugging into the band's zippy garage-gone-new-wave take on British Invasion/Merseybeat melodics. It's highlighted by closing classic "Hanging on the Telephone" (a year before Blondie covered it and transformed it from indie 7" obscuro to international thrill), and, notably, an original Nerves version of their killer "Walking Out on Love" with leader/guitarist Jack Lee. (Note: One Way's storming version was by Case and Collins' brief post-Nerves 1978 outfit the Breakaways; likewise, "Will You Come Through" was not on One Way, though a Breakaways version appears on their retrospective, also on Alive/Bomp!, entitled Walking Out on Love: The Lost Sessions.)