This archival release by Ted Nugent is just as good as DOUBLE LIVE GONZO. The only drag is that it contains a bit too much talking, but that’s a minor quibble. Charlie Huhn was an excellent replacement for Derek St. Holmes, carrying the torch into the 80s for the Motor City Madman. Get this one if you can.
Long held up as exemplary by indie-uber-alles ethicist Steve Albini, Chicago’s Jesus Lizard has signed a pact with the devil himself, Irving Azoff, and released a one-shot live album called Show as part of the Collision Arts/Giant Records series commemorating the 20th anniversary of CBGB. The 15 tracks come close to capturing the bone-crushing intensity of the noise rockers’ live set, but there’s no substitute for catching singer David Yow in person in all his sweating, spitting, and screaming glory. The only thing more entertaining would be seeing Albini try to explain how the band hasn’t sold out. –Jim DeRogatis
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Ted Nugent’s career can be thought of in five slices: pre-75/Amboy Dukes, 75-79 golden years, 79-mid 80s in the pop wilderness, Damn Yankees, and elder statesman. Everything put out by the first incarnation of “Ted Nugent” the band (75-79), co-led by wildly underrated singer, songwriter, guitarist Derek St. Holmes is great, classic rock (the albums Ted Nugent, Free For All, Cat Scratch Fever, Weekend Warrior…). The grooves groove, the screams scream, and these records and a stunning live presentation made Nugent the #1 livedraw in the US for several years. Artistic differences led to the split-up of the original band just before the Hammersmith concerts which were recorded for this album. New crooner Charlie Huhn did yeoman work, but over the ensuing albums the vibe was diminished and so soon was Nugent’s popularity. While the studio stuff with Huhn was mostly blah (a few tracks on State of Shock and Scream Dream do kick though), the London concerts were a coup de grace and the resulting recording is exciting, powerful, fast, distorted and ridiculous — in other words, vintage Nugent. Not a good intro to the Motor City Madman for new listeners (try Great Gonzos or any of the recent re-compilations for that), but for fans and casual fans, a highly worthwhile document of a great entertainer in his manic prime. The preposterous bombast of the liner notes, rife with arrogance and humor, are worth about half the CD price on their own to those who love or loved the Nuge. And by the way, as of the late 90s Derek St. Holmes and Nugent are together again — check out Ted’s radio show in Detroit on which Derek guests often, or the Spirit of the Wild album.
Forget about Double Live Gonzo, this is the Motor City Madman is action. Reaking havoc and mayhem upon the people in London, Terrible Teddy crushes the Brits with high decible amps and screams. There is no other terrifying live album like this one. I feel sorry for the crowd that night, cause Ted let them have it. Get this album, you won’t be sorry you did.
Nugent is an amazing talent and a true Metal God. That said, this is far from his best live work. The sound quality is average (Hammersmith is an infamously difficult venue for recording engineers), the band was tired after a grueling tour, band members were not getting along, Nugent’s handlers were pushing him in musical directions he did not want to travel … and all of this comes through in this very strained live performance. Avid Nugent fans may enjoy this snapshot of musical history, but most others will not. Between songs Nugent babbles like an auctioneer on uppers, talking down to his audience and being annoyingly and childishly profane. He also makes it clear that he is superior to his band (“I TOLD the boys tonight that …”) and there is a noticeable lack of cohesion between Nugent and his fellow musicians, all of whom had reached their limit with Nugent by May of 1979. The stops are not tight; the solos are sloppy and unstructured; and Charlie Huhn, who is an excellent vocalist, reaches to deliver his lines on cue with the minimum of effort. One easily imagines a time clock at the edge of the stage that band members use to clock in and out of this minimum wage performance.At Hammersmith, Nugent was alone in his enthusiasm — or rather what was left of it at this stage in his career arc. By agreeing to perform three shows in one day to stuff a promoter’s cash register at the end of their European tour, Nugent stretched an angry, tired band past it limit. Nugent’s own frustration is evident in his histrionic screeches, dissonant vocals, missed cues and late lead-ins on some of the best songs in his catalog. This is a guy who wants to bash his guitar over the heads of his band mates, not produce the platinum-quality stadium rock he perfected in the mid-1970’s!For those who remember Nugent at his best, you may want to preserve your warm memories of this great artist by skipping this recording.
The story behind this disc makes it even more astounding: we are dealing with the last date of The Nuge’s 1979 European Tour, and since Ted wouldn’t extend the tour despite huge popular demand, he decided to play three (3!) consecutive gigs on the same night!!!!! This being the last one of those, ie. his 3rd gig of the night, goes a long way towards explaining why the sound is so good, but how the **** did Ted & the band get this intensity into the show? My favourite Ted Nugent live recording by far, and yes, that IS including Double Live Gonzo and the new Full Bluntal Nugity.