No Cause for Concern? Issue #6 | December 1982 | Page 15 | Bad Brains show review
Quite a show alright. It was a fucking rip-off from start to finish. No, there were some good moments but not enough to balance out the lousy ones. To start off, the tickets were $7.00, not to bad actually, and advertisements said "starts at 7:00" but it was more like 10:00 before the opening band, GASH, came on. And that was a real treat too. They came on all dressed up and started playing this artsy stuff (like Breeding Ground) which was okay until the singer joined in. His voice really leaves something to be desired. Mild amusement was my initial reaction to seeing him in his spiffy threads and wearing make-up (and I don't just means eyeliner, I mean blue eyeshadow and blush too) but once he started singing in a key too low for his voice and with a voice not capable of sustaining notes (something he tried to do a lot of) I lasted about halfway through the song then immediately sought refuge in the somewhat quieter confines of the washroom downstairs where I was shortly joined by others with the same sentiment. Unfortunately their set lasted a long time too.
After a really long break the BAD BRAINS [wikipedia, myspace] finally came on but since they'd arrived too late to have a sound check, the first ten minutes or so were spent tuning up and such. They eventually started and broke right into one of their hardcore songs and followed that with three more, two being "The Big Takeover" and "I" both done really well. Thrashers and stagedivers went apeshit but there were no assholes creating any problems this time. After that the Bad Brains played two of their reggae songs, then another hardcore, then a reggae (continuity or what?) then H.R. said "good night" and they all walked off stage.
Once it dawned on the audience that that was it, not just a break, they demanded more and the Bad Brains finally sauntered back on like martyrs, played another reggae song then left again. They did this twice more since the audience kept insisting they come back on but the last time without even leaving the stage they just started tearing down the equipment. Oh, have I been saying "they"? Excuse me, the bassist never came back on after their initial set so it was just the three of them for the three lame one-song encores.
It was really awful. There is definitely some truth to Colleen's statement in the D.O.A. review about the Klondike Room having a really lousy atmosphere. As H.R. said before walking off stage the second time "I wish we could give you more but the spirit just isn't right." As true as that may be, the Bad Brains attitude only made it worse. No P.M.A. there at all. They sulked around like snotty little kids and they shrugged their shoulders a lot when asked what was up. They moaned later about no sound check, about that space beside the stage and about having to play for "a bunch of mounties". (Yes "mounties"! The bass player really did call us that!) As as if it's our fault they didn't leave Toronto until 3:00 pm. It's a five hour drive, what did they expect?
Obviously M.D.C. was right. Maybe I shouldn't have edited out what they said about the Bad Brains after all. This was probably one of the worst shows to hit Ottawa in a long time and Neil, the manager of the Klondike Room, refused to refund anyone's money saying their contract called for one hour of stage and that's what we got. Right, if you include the time spent tuning up or moaning backstage between their last few songs. All total we got about 30-35 minutes of music and the whole thing can be summed up as follows: It was a fucking rip-off. And I feel terrible wasting a whole page on them.
[In retrospect, I'm still amazed at how horrible and unprofessional they were. I really loved the band, their "Rock for Light" LP getting constant time on my turntable, and I still think their music stands out as some of the best punk/hardcore to come out of the early '80s but it's amazing how a bit of bad behavior left us cold.]