G.B.H. was one of those UK82 punk bands that I never really got into. There were a lot of those bands, like D.O.A. and The Varukers, and I never got into them because they are passed over a lot of times for those 77 punk bands that are just a little more famous (Sex Pistols et al). The band starts out chaotic as hell, which is good, but there are some moments on these early tracks where the band seems necessarily sloppy. This set is from a few years ago (2004) so I can’t imagine that GBH sounds much different now than they did then; this is the best way to get an idea about what this classic punk act sounds like in the current era. When GBH gets into Falling Down, the results are much better. What probably happened with the band is that they showed their humanity; they are not automatons, and to expect a perfect performance out of a band each time is to expect perfection in imperfect beings.
The shrill guitars that GBH are known for couple with very activist drums during Diplomatic Immunity. It may have taken GBH a few tracks, but they get into the groove of things when previous performances come rushing into their minds. The differing camera that bounce around to show different views of GBH are all fine and dandy, but there seems to be a paucity of audience shots. Most of the time what happens is that the only idea that a viewer can get that an audience is present is through the cameras that flash from time to time. There is a considerable interview that is present alongside the live show on this DVD; if individuals want to know about GBH’s opinions on practically anything, there is three-fourths of an hour where the band is having questions bounced at them.
Finally, there is a thirteen-minute segment that showcases GBH’s life on the road. This is not quite as interesting as individuals would think, as the band does not have a huge road bus or anything, but the normal type of white, utility van that most other bands are apt to have. The only thing that is annoying about this selection is that there are vertical lines running throughout all the video; I have a feeling that these were added in, but am unsure why they were. It is really distracting, the only dark mark on what is really a great, balanced view at a classic punk band. The footage is good, the audio strong, and even when the band is being interview, individuals can be kept interested by the interesting answers of the band. This is not a substitute for the rest of the albums of GBH, but this would be a nice introduction to the band by anyone who has lived under a rock for the last twenty-five years. Pick this new bit of punk history up, and be prepared to be rocked by individuals that are the age of your parents.
Charged G.B.H. – City Baby Attacked By Rats / MVD / 113 Minutes / http://www.mvdb2b.com /