On September 11, 2001 the World Trade Center fell down in flames.
More than a month later insult was added to injury when the Murder
City Devils broke up. All right, so most people wouldn't equate some
stupid rock band breaking up with the senseless deaths of about 3,000
innocent citizens, but then those people have probably never heard
the Murder City Devils.
In short, the Murder City Devils were a punk rock band that no garage
could have contained. The Devils played the music that pounds in your
brain as you sit in your cell and drunkenly think to yourself,
"Drinking and driving is only wrong when I get caught doing it." The
Devils wrote the songs that described all of your broken
relationships, broken hearts and broken teeth, especially the ones
that resulted from all those broken relationships and broken hearts.
The Devils wrote the songs that should have made the whole world sing.
This CD, which showcases the very last gig the Murder City Devils
ever played (October 31, 2001 at the Showbox Theater in Seattle), is
a sloppy drunken muddle, a jumble even messier than a break-up with
yours truly. And yet it's also one of the most compelling live
documents you are likely to hear. Okay, so songs like "Press Gang"
and "Idle Hands" sound rather awful, and there are many flubbed
lyrics, missed chords and drunken in-between song rambles that the
world could probably live without, but the chaos of this CD is one of
its charms. To hear a band giving up its death rattle is undeniably
gripping, especially when it's a band this goshdarned good.
So this is what it sounds like when doves cry.... And this is also
what it sounds like when an inspired band falls apart. The Devils are
clearly very intoxicated as they stumble through their final
set, and you can hear the grief they were clearly feeling that
fateful night in their performance of the songs. From the opening
chords of "Bear Away" the band is on fire like James Hetfield playing
a gig in Montreal (kudos are extended to anyone who actually got that
lame reference). The songs are raw, and played with such conviction
that you can't help but wish that this was the beginning and not the
end of a five-year run. The only real fault one might find with this
show is that the Devils did not play "Lemuria Rising," their finest
song, or their excellent cover of The Kinks' "Alcohol," certainly an
appropriate tune for this show. For shame!
"Nail a cross to the door," motherfucker. It's done.