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Customer Review

2.0 out of 5 stars Live At Brixton '87, 20 April 2014
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This review is from: Live At Brixton '87 (Audio CD)
I'm extremely surprised that every other review for this album so far claims it has "good" sound. To my ears the quality in that department is much closer to a bootleg than what one would normally expect from an official release.

The fidelity isn't even as good as No Sleep At All, which was recorded at roughly the same time with near enough the same tracklist, and which despite having a questionable mix does at least sound professionally recorded.

In comparison this CD at times almost sounds like an audience recording, very sludgy and ill-defined instrumentation with distant and echoey drums.

Were I forced to recommend in order of preference all of Motorhead's official live output, Live At Brixton '87 would definitely be bottom of the pile due to the sound quality alone.

I would advise anyone considering buying this album to instead give No Sleep At All a try. Aside from that, I'd say this is an album for serious collectors or hardcore fans only.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Feb 2015 23:35:01 GMT
Did you try professional headphones?? It sounds raw, but it also sounds like you are there. And any clean live recording is a bad live recording in my humble opinion. To me 4,5 stars this release.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Feb 2015 00:56:51 GMT
Last edited by the author on 14 Feb 2015 01:01:37 GMT
XBBX says:
Exactly. It "sounds like you're there". It sounds like you're hearing the band whilst you're inside a venue. Therein lies the problem.

If that kind of low fidelity is preferable to you, that's fair enough, but I'm of the opinion that most buyers wouldn't be happy paying good money for an official release only to discover upon playing that it sounds almost like a bootleg.

And whichever way you cut it, whether you love or hate the album, this recording does have the worst quality of sound of any live Motorhead recording outside of the bootleg world.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jul 2015 17:07:14 BDT
sydfloyd says:
The *whole point* of a good live recording is to capture what it sounded like in the venue on the night! If you subtract that, you may just as well forget it and listen to the studio albums.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Aug 2015 23:28:04 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Aug 2015 23:32:54 BDT
XBBX says:
Would you agree that The Who's Live At Leeds, The Ramones' It's Alive, Cream's Live, Deep Purple's Made In Japan, James Brown's Live At The Apollo, Pink Floyd's Pulse and and Jimi Hendrix's Live At Monterey would have been vastly improved had they been recorded by an audience member using a portable cassette recorder instead of being taped by a professional recording set-up?

Because that's what you're arguing for, as the former is the best way to keep the sound reproduction as near as possible to what you're speaking of.....what the audience in a venue will actually hear.

Now, I can't think of any live album of repute which captures the sound you describe, because the best live albums are all mixed from directly recorded multitracks. Even the audience are mic'd seperately and mixed in as appropriate to add atmosphere.

With the best live albums the recording process itself is closer to studio recording than much else. The end result of which is a well recorded album with good clarity, serving also to showcase a bands' live power or prowess.

If you have no interest in the best possible fidelity for a live album there is a multitude of audience recorded bootlegs out there to satisfy your need for "authenticity".

However, I would think that most people paying top-dollar for an official record company release don't want "authenticity" of that type. They want the best possible sounding live album, not an album which instead would attempt to accurately capture the echo, boominess, unbalanced mix etc which an audience will commonly experience.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Aug 2015 12:34:19 BDT
sydfloyd says:
No, in common with many commentators on this website who seem to get offended with anyone who has the temerity to disagree with them, you're taking what I said and assuming the extreme. What I'm actually arguing against are so-called 'live' albums which are processed to the point where there isn't the remotest hint left (other than some sanitized audience sound between tracks) of what the live concert experience was really like. I'm not talking about bad acoustics and being jostled by your idiot beer-swilling neighbour, I'm talking about the 'in the moment' quality of the performance itself. There is no reason why a professional multi-track recording can't capture that quality, just as long as it isn't mixed to within an inch of it's life after the fact. In cases like that, then a decent audience capture would indeed be preferable, warts and all. Of the albums you mention, most are reasonable captures, which do sound 'live' enough, although I'd say 'Pulse' is rather sanitized and better audience recordings of the 'Division Bell' tour do circulate (I was present at one of the Earl's Court shows, so I know what they really sounded like!) There are better recordings (soundboard and audience) of the Ramones than 'It's Alive' as well.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Sep 2015 14:12:39 BDT
Last edited by the author on 22 Sep 2015 14:34:31 BDT
XBBX says:
"in common with many commentators on this website who seem to get offended with anyone who has the temerity to disagree with them, you're taking what I said and assuming the extreme.."

I place reviews hoping to be of use to the average purchaser. I operate under the assumption that the average purchaser is reading the review because they know little or nothing of the product and wish to be better informed before parting with cash. In my experience, when an average purchaser pays good money for an official product, only to discover upon playing said product that the quality is low-fidelty akin to a bootleg, that average purchaser tends to feel cheated. Ripped off. This is especially true in the case of live recordings.

I'm not offended by your comments, to me they just seem completely illogical from that perspective. So of course I'll argue strongly against them.

The original comment of which you speak revealed nothing more of your disagreement than than "The whole point of a good live recording is to capture what it sounded like in the venue on the night". I responded with a detailed clarification of my view, which if you considered "extreme", cest la vie. Maybe I should have replied in kind and simply said "oh no it's not".

"What I'm actually arguing against are so-called 'live' albums which are processed to the point where there isn't the remotest hint left (other than some sanitized audience sound between tracks) of what the live concert experience was really like."

I haven't argued in favour of that. That issue didn't even come up for discussion. Why are you now raising it as if it did? Had you raised that point with your initial post I'd most likely have agreed with you.

You see, I have no interest in professional recordings which sound like bootlegs and I have no interest in professional recordings which have the soul polished out of them. Within that context I have no interest in extremes. I did think that was pretty clear when I mentioned previously that the best live albums are "well recorded with good clarity, serving also to showcase a bands' live power or prowess".

We've drifted way off track now from the original review. So to pull things back I'll close with a simply question for you which paraphrases the concuding line of that review;

Would you advise buying Live At Brixton before buying No Sleep Till Hammersmith and No Sleep At All?
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