ADOLESCENTS: RETURN TO THE BLACK HOLE (1989; 1997)
1) No Way; 2) Who Is Who?; 3) Word Attack; 4) Self Destruct; 5) L. A. Girl; 6) Brats In Battalions; 7) Welcome To Reality; 8) Wrecking Crew; 9) Do The Eddie; 10) I Love You; 11) Losing Battle; 12) Creatures; 13) All Day And All Of The Night; 14) Rip It Up; 15) Amoeba; 16) Kids Of The Black Hole; 17) I Got A Right.
If the idea of splicing two different shows from two different periods does not appeal all that much to you, then here is the Adolescents' first ever, and, possibly, last ever official recording of one full show from 1989. (Amusingly, the show was recorded in the same year that the archival Live 1981/1986 was released, and then shelved all the way until 1997 — even though they were clearly going for a record release straight away, as the audience is told sometime during the show: "We're recording this for a live album — but we won't sell out like Sham did!" So they didn't).
The results are not utterly spectacular, but they are as utterly satisfactory as possible. First, the record catches the Adolescents in a state of primal reunion, with all the right members in all the right positions. Second, sound quality is as prime as you are ever likely to get on a live hardcore album. Third, they are concentrating, reasonably, on the classics, playing 10 out of 13 songs from the self-titled record. Fourth, the band sounds tight, well-oiled, and just as ready to incite pointless riots as it was one decade before. Fifth, they do 'All Day And All Of The Night'. The world won't fall to pieces if you never hear it, but there is always something brutally touching in general about hardcore bands paying tributes to Sixties' heroes, and something subtly intelligent about the Adolescents acknowledging their debt to Ray Davies.
Minuses? Not much, except for an occasional lame joke or two ("I don't care if you sing along, but don't take my mic, or I'll kill you!"), regular off-key singing on the harmonies (so 'Amoeba' is ruined one more time, big deal), way too many pauses between tracks, sometimes filled with annoying feedback noises (the band's equivalent of tuning up, no doubt), and the perennial question of the true significance of live albums as such. My answer? Just another thumbs up.
Check "Return To The Black Hole" (CD) on Amazon