This impressive double disc captures Concrete Blonde
's visit to Brazil during 2002. Mixed at the source with the album release in mind, the sound quality is, as you'd expect, quite snappy. There are no fallouts and the audience is large and enthusiastic between songs, only occasionally looming into the band's action, as they do on the melancholy bite of "Caroline," which apparently is a singalong favorite in Brazil. But still, Live in Brazil
is clean dirt, grungy and edgy -- just what listeners want Concrete Blonde
to be. Still blistering with the spirit of Patti Smith
that hovers barely behind its own brand of post-punk crunch, the band blisters through 18 songs, here rendered as one seamless, flawless set. From the snarl of "Valentine" and the rockabilly jangle of "Tonight" to a well-received if patchy version of their only American pop hit, "Joey," the first disc lacks little, and sets the scene for the songs that unravel across the second part, where the bass beat of "Days and Days" gives way to Johnette Napolitano
's Jackass-stuttered intro to what is ascribed as the band's George Bush tribute, "Violent." Throughout, the members of Concrete Blonde
prove they can still bite as well as the best of them. Ultimately, Live in Brazil
is a delicious trip through time, a raucous romp that brings back some truly inspired memories of the wild and willful years of the band's early-'80s heyday.