Dead Boys – Return of the Living Dead Boys

Dead Boys – Return of the Living Dead Boys / 2008 MVD / 50 Minutes / /

The Dead Boys were one of the few bands that had ever made anything of themselves from the Cleveland area. This band started in 1975 and broke up for the first time in 1979. While the act would have to stay together to record a live album for Sire Records (contract obligations), the act would stay defunct for a number of years. It is in that context that individuals should understand why this performance was such a watershed one. This is why Joey Ramone is present at this show, and this is why there is a such a large audience for a band that was renowned for playing in dives and other ignoble places.

While the act starts off a little rusty (the act’s most major of hits, “Sonic Reducer”, elicits a number of sour notes for the band as they get back to a cohesive state). The subtitle of this DVD, “Halloween Night 1986”, is an accurate one: this concert took place on Halloween night, and as such, there are a number of costumes floating through the crowd. The band themselves take part in the festivities, with a bondage and a pimp costume being two of the more notable digs on stage. The concert itself shows that the intensity that made the band so well-known in punk circles had not diminished in the years since they had broken up, as tracks like “Son of Sam” and the aforementioned “Sonic Reducer” are full of the acerbic wit and the speed-filled energy which the band was known.

“Return of the Living Dead Boys” provides individuals with more than just the concert, as there is a bonus feature that captures the band on a local cable access show, “Wake Up, Youngstown”. There is a delightful sort of tension between Stiv Bators and the interviewer, as if the band had just dropped by unannounced. While this DVD will close up before the hour mark hits, the different versions of the classics contained here will be enough to ensure that viewers make watching this DVD a common occurrence. The sound and audio quality is great for a punk show, considering there are numerous bootlegs around that tend to barely distinguish vocals from the fuzz emanating from the album. If you are a Dead Boys fan, or a fan more generally of the first wave of punk rock, “Return of the Living Dead Boys” is a perfect disc to add to one’s collection.

Rating: 7.5/10

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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