2013 is turning out to be a banner year for classic rock archival concert releases. LITTLE FEAT's 'HELLZAPOPPIN'' (live Halloween Boston '76), GRATEFUL DEAD's 'MAY 1977' (a revelation), THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND's 'BROTHERS & SISTERS (Super Deluxe Edition) (on fire in '73 at Winterland), MILES DAVIS' 'LIVE IN EUROPE 1969/70: The Bootleg Series Vol 2)' (fusion at it's finest) and now PERE UBU's 'LIVE AT THE LONGHORN; April 1, 1978.' Featuring the classic UBU line-up of David Thomas (vocals, musette), Tom Herman (guitar), Allen Ravenstine (keyboards, electronics, sax), Tony Maimone (bass) and Scott Krauss (drums), the band performs material from their first album, the essential 'THE MODERN DANCE' and their earlier self-released singles (later collected on 'TERMINAL TOWER'). On tour with fellow (and only) label mates THE SUICIDE COMMANDOS, the Cleveland boys were on the Minnesotan COMMANDO's turf, Jay's Longhorn, a former Minneapolis jazz bar now catering to the burgeoning Punk and New Wave scene.
PERE UBU surely had a chuckle that the gig fell on April Fool's Day, they were a band who were not only steeped in irony, but embraced it. UBU arose from the ashes of ROCKET FROM THE TOMBS, whose classic line-up featured Thomas, founding UBU guitarist Peter Laughner and soon to be DEAD BOY Stiv Bators. Naming themselves after the absurdist antihero of a number of plays written by 19th century symbolist author Alfred Jarry, Thomas, Laughner, Herman, Ravenstine, Krauss and bassist Tim Wright released two singles on their own Hearpen/Hearthan imprint; "30 Seconds Over Tokyo/Heart Of Darkness" and "Final Solution/Cloud 149" (the latter three are performed on the CD). Laughner left afterwards to go solo, unfortunately dying from complications caused by substance abuse in 1977. A fantastic album of his solo material, 'TAKE THE GUITAR PLAYER FOR A RIDE' is well worth searching out. The album title comes from a line is his song "Amphetamine," and was recorded by WILCO as part of "Misunderstood," the lead tune from 'BEING THERE.' Wright also left to join Arto Lindsay in DNA replaced by Maimone. THE MODERN DANCE and THE SUICIDE COMMANDO's 'MAKE A RECORD' were the only two releases on Mercury Records' very short-lived Blank imprint, it folded soon afterwards due to poor initial sales of both records.
'LIVE AT LONGHORN: April 1, 1978' comes in a tri-fold digipak with informative liner notes and sounds great considering the era and venue. Although at this writing 35 years (!) removed from the days of super-group backlash, spiked hair, skinny ties, jackets with pins, ripped clothing, indie singles with picture-sleeves and smoky dark dank bars smelling of cigarettes, sweat and stale beer, PERE UBU's retro-futurist vision sounds fresh and vital, still able to thrill, scare and amuse, sometimes all at once! Classic UBU may be dead, but UBU is still the king......Long Live UBU......!!!