Thursday, August 04, 2011

C'mon Every Beatbox

Let's face it, nostalgia is powerful. Nowhere is this more evident than in the world of rock, where it seems nearly every band that split up over the last 30 years is getting back together.

Case in point: Big Audio Dynamite, the Mick Jones-led post-Clash outfit that combined punk, funk, dance, samples, reggae and anything else they could think of. After 14 years of inactivity, Jones has reformed the original lineup (including legendary punk scenester/filmmaker Don Letts, bassist Leo Williams and drummer Greg Roberts). After playing a few festivals in the spring, B.A.D. kicked off its North American tour with a show at the House of Blues Tuesday night.

The club was full of rock fans of an older vintage, who obviously remembered B.A.D. from its 1985-89 heyday and then in the early '90s when Jones reformed the band as B.A.D. II with different and scored a few well-timed alt-rock hits. The 85-minute set was heavily weighted toward the first few albums, playing deeper cuts like "Medicine Show," "Sightsee MC!" and "A Party" while carving out a dance-rock groove that had the joint moving. But it wasn't until they broke out the infectious "C'mon Every Beatbox" that the enthusiasm level picked up a notch. Similar appreciation was shown for "Just Play Music," but it was during the encores when the band tore into classics "The Bottom Line," "E=MC2" (which Jones introduced as "here's what you've been waiting to hear all night") and "Rush," which was actually a B.A.D. II song from 1991's "The Globe."

The band also debuted a new song, "Rob Peter to Pay Paul," which had more of a rock feel to it than the rest of the night's material. I was a little surprised B.A.D. didn't play anything from 1989's Megatop Phoenix, but it seemed as though they were emphasizing material from their 1985 debut and the following year's No. 10 Upping St. And there was nothing wrong with that.

Jones was a genial host, looking fit and trim and babbling happily between songs, thanking everyone for turning out. Letts and Williams both sported impressive sets of dreadlocks, with Letts' stretching nearly to his feet. Letts played keyboards and sang backing vocals, occasionally stepping out on the reggae songs to do some toasting.

Jones hinted the band might be back; perhaps the new song was an indication that a new album is in the offing as well. Judging from the energy B.A.D. generated Tuesday night, it appears there's still fuel in the tank.

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