Thursday, July 26, 2012
Rose Tattoo - Live From Boggo Road Jail 1993
Rose Tattoo playing live at an Australian prison in 1993 is all you need to know about this DVD, but I'm very happy to ramble on at length about it if you want to know more. Boggo Road Jail was shut down in 1993, a little over a century after it was constructed. It was the site of numerous hangings. There were hunger strikes and prison riots over the poor conditions. A concert featuring The Divinyls, Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs and Rose Tattoo was booked to celebrate the closing of this hell hole.
Rose Tattoo had broken up in the late 1980's but reformed in 1993 to do a tour with Guns N Roses in Australia. Judging by the performance on this DVD, they must have blown them off the stage every night. From the opening note of "Out Of This Place" (very appropriate song for a prison) Rose Tattoo come out storming. No bullshit, nothing fancy. Just pure rock n roll at it's best. I hadn't seen any of this footage before so I really didn't know what to expect. That was foolish because it's obvious that Rose Tattoo don't step on the stage unless they're going to destroy the place. The rhythm section of bassist Geordie Leech and drummer Paul De Marco isn't very pretty to look at, but jeezus, do they swing hard. The guitar team of Mick Cocks and Pete Wells are incredible. (Pete was the bassist in the killer proto-metal band Buffalo. Make sure you get a copy of Volcanic Rock if you don't already have it). It's so sad they both passed away too young from cancer. Mick's rhythm guitar is rock solid and Pete's slide playing gives the band such a unique sound. It really sounds like Johnny Winter sitting in with AC/DC. Then there's the powerhouse vocals of Angry Anderson. Covered in sweat from the first song he pours his heart out into the microphone.
"Bad Boy For Love," "Assault & Battery," and "Tramp" are pummeled out in rapid fire succession. The closest thing Rose Tattoo gets to a ballad is the bluesy "The Butcher & Fast Eddie," another great song to play in a prison yard. The pace picks back up for a great cover of "Street Fighting Man" followed by "Rock N Roll Outlaw," "One Of The Boys" and their anthem "Nice Boys (Don't Play Rock N Roll)." They encore with a very fast version of Freddy King's "Going Down" that has Billy Thorpe guesting on guitar and vocals.
This DVD left me feeling inspired and depressed at the same time. It's always inspiring to watch a great rock n roll band do what it does best, but it also made me sad that there's no one this good out there right now. It takes a lot of commitment to really boogie and most people don't want to put in the hours to rock this hard. Buy this pronto. Play it loud and proud.