Album Review

Offs, The – “Live At The Mabuhay Gardens – Nov 7 1980” – [Vampir Records]

Max Level   3/27/2011   A Library, CD

You had to see a live show by The Offs to appreciate their high-energy fusion of punk, funk, reggae, ska, R&B, and dance music. So if you missed them when they were around, here’s your chance. The late Don Vinil wasn’t much of a singer but he was a charismatic front man. Behind him, the band (especially the rhythm section) was tight and a cut above most of the other bands that played at the “Fab Mab”. If you’re familiar with The Offs, you’ll recognize many of these songs from their original vinyl releases– their 7″ cover of The Slickers’ “Johnny Too Bad”, for example, was an underground hit here in the Bay Area. The band also crashes through two Lou Reed covers as part of the encore. The Mab’s annoying master of ceremonies Dirk Dirksen baits the crowd on the first and last tracks, and at the beginning of #17. I couldn’t stand him back in the day, and I still can’t.

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