Gang War

Live at the Channel Club

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The serious Johnny Thunders fan should avoid Gang War's Live at the Channel Club LP. The sound is rough, if serviceable, but the real reason this should have stayed a bootleg is the lackluster performance, despite Gang War's should-have-been-incendiary pairing of Thunders and MC5 guitar legend Wayne Kramer. It's as much of a letdown as the show I saw that same month at New York's Heat club. Occasionally, Kramer will peel away on one of his flaming blues runs, as with "The Ten Commandments of Love" and Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone," but Thunders sounds way out of it, singing even more out of tune than usual and doing squat on his six-string. Kramer strains for pitch as well on Jimmy Cliff's "The Harder They Come" and James Brown's "I'll Go Crazy." If there's any worth in this LP, it's the as-usual obnoxious blathering of Thunders, laugh-at-him (but he's still got it) entertainment.