The UK’s Subhumans rose from the anarcho-punk scene of 1980, wielding snotty three-chord rock slathered in the blue-collar street politics of the time. All Gone Live (DVD/CD released in 2004) captures a 1998 reunion tour featuring classics like “Mickey Mouse is Dead” and “Waste of Breath.” Fortunately it’s not just aged material from dudes trying to recapture their youth. It also showcases recent live recordings like “This Year’s War,” which begins with a rant about the invasion of Afghanistan before frontman Dick Lucas catches himself on his soapbox and quickly launches into a furious cauldron of whiplash guitar.
Nothing here is completely unpredictable, but the Subhumans know how to gracefully shift a song like “Till the Pigs Come Around” into do-si-do country punk, or unravel the jazz-like intro of “Work-Rest-Play-Die” into an explosive anthem. And while much of All Gone Live marks a decade-old affair, it’s a reminder of how inventive this band is, relative to the mass pile-up of punk bands who fail to capture the same razored riffs and charming nuances. Now in their 40s, it’s pretty clear the Subhumans haven’t yet turned into the white-bred businessmen they deplore. (Erika Fredrickson)
Subhumans play The Other Side with Witch Hunt Wednesday, Aug. 29, at 10 PM. $12/$14 under 21.