Bad Brains: Live At CBGB 1982

DVD Reviews | Sep 22nd, 2006

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Starring Bad Brains, A bunch of sweaty 80’s kids with mullets & mohawks
Written By:
Directed By: Richard Oretsky
Studio: MVD
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Bad Brains were one of the biggest pioneers of the hardcore scene (the others were Black Flag & Minor Threat). Before moving to NYC, they hailed from Washington DC and conquered the underground hardcore scene. They were one of the top bands in the country at that time and everyone was afraid to play with them because they were so damn good live. Now their infamous CBGB’s performances are put out on DVD for the first time!

I started to listened to Bad Brains in the late 90’s when I was really getting into punk and reggae. Their self titled album is probably one of the best punk/hardcore albums of all time. It’s just so different & unique and stands out from the other punk/HC bands. I saw the band perform under the name Soul Brains in the late 90s (or was it in 2000s?) and I was unfortunate to only see the first half of their set since they went on very very late. I’m assuming they were stone out of their minds. But anyway, all this concert footage was recorded on Christmas Eve 1982, and over a three day weekend for some hardcore fest at the legendary CBGBs in NYC. There’s over 4 hours of footage from the Bad Brains shows and all the good stuff has been put into an hour long concert.

The first song we see is “Big Take Over,” and you just gotta love the intro to that song. Then after that, the crowd goes ape shit! HR is very energetic and goes nuts like he always did during these songs. It’s funny seeing all these kids beat the living piss out of each other, and then the next song you see them skankin’ and dancing to reggae songs. I never really liked the reggae songs that Bad Brains did and i’m not sure everyone else did either. Everyone got into the band because they were a fast, energetic hardcore band BUT that’s what made Bad Brains eclectic; which was mixing the reggae and punk. The songs that I liked from this DVD were “Attitude,” “Right Brigade,” “Banned in DC,” and “Pay To Cum.” I believe “Pay to Cum” is the first song that got me into the band and I its because of hearing a cover by Skankin’ Pickle. Got to start out somewhere with hearing music you never heard of before, right? The intro to “Right Brigade” is so awesome and I can listen to that part over and over again. You just want to get your Doc Martens boots on and stomp someone’s face haha.

Since this was an advance DVD, some of the audio was VERY out of whack. So out of whack that I had to switch the audio to Dolby 2.0, and put my speakers up to 10. Yeah it’s usually around 32-34 so you can tell the audio tracks weren’t finalized just yet. MVD reassured me that the final product won’t have these problems, so you shouldn’t have anything to worry about (I think). The picture was pretty decent considering this was recorded in 1982. It’s still crappy looking but it’s better than I thought it was going to be. It would have have been nice to have all the footage on the DVD, or just one continuous concert but then again i’m just being spoiled. Besides the concert footage, there are fan interviews where you get to see people shaving their heads and then you can listen to “I and I Survive” from the audio CD that’s coming out. Any Bad Brains fans should get this because this footage is pretty cool to watch; especially if you were actually old enough to see them back when this was recorded!

-Fan Interviews
-Bonus audio track: I and I Survive

5.1 Surround Sound

Full Screen


Favorite Scenes: Right Brigade, Big TakeOver, Pay to Cum, Banned in DC, Attitude, Supertouch/Shitfit
Rating: NR
Running Time: 60 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating: