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CD Review: Gang Of Four – Return The Gift

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Gang Of Four is one of the original pioneers of the British punk rock scene in Leeds, England. Featuring the original band members of singer Jon King, drummer Hugo, guitarist Andy Gill and bass guitarist Dave Allen, GoF returns with Return The Gift – a new re-imagined compilation comprised of songs from the band’s earlier works.

The album is very polished and owes to the wonderful advancements of almost 30 years of recording technology. Although for punk music, the rough qualities inherent to less-than-stellar recording equipment added to the rhythms and sounds. The scratches and hisses created an aura of live authenticity that made listening to Iggy Pop or The Sex Pistols lifelike.

But, one can’t fault GoF for taking advantage of modern technology to make its music cleaner and crisper; the song “What We All Want” hasn’t sounded better and the intricacies of the guitar’s melodies wouldn’t be so audible or smooth. GoF has had a tremendous impact on contemporary post-punk/new wave bands like Franz Ferdinand and The Strokes. “We Live As We Dream, Alone” is the perfect transitionary track to balance the offbeat rugged nature of classic punk with the fluid melodies of today’s music.

Return The Gift couldn’t have been better timed. Punk music was founded on the anti-establishment and with the war in Iraq, never has there been a greater need for cultural and social critique. From the politically charged “He’d Send The Army” and “Ether” to the capitalism condemning “To Hell With Poverty” and “Natural’s Not In It,” Gang Of Four defines punk – both musically and thematically. Welcome back, we needed you.

Editor’s note: This work of yours now has another venue for success – and more eyes – at the Advance.net Web sites, a site affiliated with about 12 newspapers.

One such site is here.

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About Tan The Man

I am a proud dork and loser.
  • http://ReviewofVelvetRevolver@StarlandBallroom Doug Dunzik

    Waste of F’N New Year’s Eve $100.00

    Given the magnitude of what was about to happen in Sayerville, NJ, the prospects for having a fantastic New Years Eve seemed eminent. One of the greatest heavy rock band re-mixes was about to don the stage at the Starland Ballroom, creating New Jersey history in Rock and Roll. Having toured the world, and sold over 1.4 million copies of their latest record, “Contraband”, Velvet Revolver was poised to clean up Sayerville, and create insane rock and roll memories for 2005-2006, in the minds and hearts of local loyal fans. Fans who braved the rain, December temperatures, and had probably given up other plans, in lieu of what they thought would be an Historic event.

    Clean up they did.
    Had Starland Ballroom, staff been sleeping that day? Had tour management been angry at having to put on a show for NYE? Had the Band been angry? Or was this just another sucker trap. Here’s the list of Event Mishaps, you be the judge.

    The event billed Open Bar 8 – 9:30. However the doors opened at 8:00. With a line that stretched around the parking lot, it would take 45 minutes off of open bar for folks at the end.

    So at 9:30, free drinks, feeling OK, waiting for the band. Was food or bar snacks of buffet offered? NO. Were there additional chairs put out for our Special Evening of Rock and F’N Roll? NO. What we got was a series of pre-programmed classic rock and roll tunes, with an occasional pair of go go dancers, who by law remained clothed. I’m sure the female audience thought the world of it.

    Loyal fans, held beliefs that Velvet Revolver would deliver a damn good time once they got on stage, so anticipation began to build. As10:30 rolled around, 11:00, 11:30, 11:45, anticipation turned sour and real fans were getting annoyed. Any thoughts of ringing in the new year WITH THE BAND were gone and a sea of disappointment swept across the crowd. At 11:55, an announcement was made that the band would be on the stage soon, so it was time redeem drink tickets for our champagne toast. The Tsunami of people to the bars made it impossible to get a drink in time and get back to your spot if it was still there. The clock struck 5,4,3,2,1 Happy New Year! Hey – where’s the band? Here they come.

    At 12:00:30 Slash, Scott Weiland and the others wizzed right past loyal local fans as though they were annoyed at even having to be there. On the sidelines, the ground force of fans eagerly awaiting a chance for an autograph or a handshake got nothing.

    To say the sound mix was bad, Scott was out of shape and scrawny, they did not address the audience directly at all, and only played for 1 hour would be too much for 1 sentence. While Slash delivered his trademark shredding and the rythm section held the ground, Scott obviously pretended to enthused, often out of breath and unable to sing lyrics completely. Flat backing vocals and an occasional missed drum beat added to the horror. These guys are seasoned Rock Veterans. How could they let this happen?
    Immediately after the show, the restrooms were blocked off and the audience was literally shoved back with bicycle racks, and told to “Make your way out the door”. No mention was made of the Continental Breakfast offered, until 25 minutes after the show. At that point, many had taken the shouted direction of the surly yellow shirted “security” and had left without getting their coffee and doughnuts. The VIP lounge, which could only hold 1/10 of the number of people there for the show, was a three ring circus without a trapeze. There was absolutely no direction, no traffic control, and the background voices of the neaderthals shouting that everyone should make their way out, hi-lighted the lack of organization.

    For the seasoned concert goer, mayhem is the norm. For a $100.00/head, even just a little more attention to the audience would have made the night tolerable, and even enjoyable. As the dissheveled ex-VR fans departed, many if not all left with a bad taste. Could it have been the 3 day old coffee? or the 2 day old muffins? Or is it the taste of vomiting $100.00 that ruined the entire night? You be the judge.

    My rating : * (that’s one star – VR did manage to kick out 1 STP song and muddled through 1 GNR. All the rest were merely churned out by this money machine)

  • Doug Dunzik

    boy sombody fucked up my last concert review…

  • Bennett

    Doug – I don’t understand what you are trying to do here. If you want to post a Review, join Blogcritics and post a review. Otherwise I’d suggest commenting on the topic of the post, in this case it would be about The Gang Of Four.

    Your writing is good, so why not join BC?

    Any questions?

  • doug

    actually that’s what I was trying to do…