The Beatles at the Cavern Club. The Sex Pistols at the 100 Club. The Doors at the Whisky A Go-Go. There are certain venues that can be pinpointed to as where certain bands developed their identifiable sound and approach. And although some would argue that the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. would be such a woodshedding locale for Bad Brains, the group equally honed their sound over a several year period at New York's CBGB's. Live at CBGB 1982 - The Audio Recordings was released as a DVD and CD in 2006, and in a strange twist of fate, the same month and year the set was issued, the venue closed its doors for good. Despite this coincidence, the album captures early Bad Brains (circa their 1982 classic self-titled release) doing what they do best -- splitting the set between furious punk-hardcore and cool reggae dubs, to the delight of the multiracial, largely Mohawked and stage diving crowd (as seen on the DVD). Included are simply ferocious readings of "Big Takeover," "Right Brigade," "How Low Can a Punk Get," and "The Regulator," as well as such reggae tunes as "The Meek" and "I and I Rasta" (the latter of which never appeared on any studio album). Out of all the live Bad Brains albums issued over the years, Live at CBGB 1982 - The Audio Recordings is one of the best yet from a performance standpoint -- although the sound quality is rough at times. After listening to the CD and viewing the DVD, it's safe to say that Bad Brains were certainly one of the best live acts on the planet during this time.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Prato