Rockin' in the Basement

Live at CBGB's (Hyper 6)
Dead City Rejects

By John Bohannon

Do you fancy yourself in punk rock basement shows? Does the sound of over-distorted, wedged-together power chords make you tingle inside? Well I think I've found something for you to check out. The Dead City Rejects have been making an honest effort to garner a following around Louisville since they formed in 1998. But for this album they traveled to the Big Apple to play an underground music club you may have heard of by the name of CBGB's (yes, THAT CBGB's).

For the band's first effort at a live recording, they throw together a straightforward, 30-minute set of high adrenaline rock. But as you listen through the intro track, "Broken Dreams," from the upcoming album and into the track "Leather Jacket," the thought runs through your head; could this be any more generic? Sure the true "punk" fans can get a kick out of the same guitar rhythms and fast paced rhythm section, but c'mon, I know people are looking for some new-fangled tunes and something they haven't already heard.

But wait! As I listen on, the sounds become a little sweeter. It's as if they crammed what was missing into the second portion of the set. They lead in to their hit single, "Dissidence & Barbed Wire," with a proposal to the crowd of helping them out with a lift from alcoholic beverages. As the music takes off, it brings an almost ska-melodic vibe to the song, making it much more appealing to the ears. Grab your mate and do the happy dance to the Irish, Dropkick Murphy-esque "Wild Irish Rose." This is by far the standout track on the recording.

The Rejects make their effort at a cover by taking on the Clash's "Tommy Gun." Strummer may be long gone but might roll over in his grave over this track, as lead singer Jeremy King is noticeably running short on breath and fading from the microphone. Even though he is giving his best effort, his vocal performance here sounds forced.

Given that I have heard both Rouge Album and Dead City Rejects (the band's self-titled album), I can say with certainty the studio efforts from this band are far more impressive. For the long time fans of the Rejects, this disc is a necessity. And for people that rock hard, this may be something to check out. But to the first-time DCR listener, this may not offer the best first impression.