Posted in music | pictures on April 20, 2011

photos by Chris Gersbeck, words by Bill Pearis

Big Audio Dynamite

"Welcome to 21st Century B.A.D," said Mick Jones slyly to the strains of the 20th Century Fox theme, right before launching into the opening riff of "The Bottom Line," Big Audio Dynamite's debut single (And here, first encore). Mick Jones now has better teeth and less hair, and in a suit last night at Roseland Ballroom looked like some West End mafioso from a Guy Richie film. But the man can still sing and play and seemed to be having a great time. "The Bottom Line" is 26 years old but lines like "Dance to the tune of economic decline" still seem relevant.

As do Big Audio Dynamite, who played Roseland last night after a lauded Coachella set over the weekend and sounded like they hadn't skipped a beat despite not playing together for twenty years. This was the original line-up of Big Audio Dynamite, the one that gave us their nearly-perfect first two albums, and two pretty good ones after that. The set stuck almost entirely to songs from this era of the B.A.D., save for 1991 hit "Rush" (from their Big Audio Dynamite II days) which to me sounded much more dated than any of the band's '80s records.

Getting nearly every single the band released plus some choice album cuts, the NYC show was a pretty perfect showcase for what made B.A.D. so great: killer dance songs ("C'mon Every Beatbox," "E=MC²," "Just Play Music"), hip hop and reggae-influenced jams ("Sightsee MC," "BAD"), the band's love of film ("Medicine Show"), and genuinely affecting pop ("The Other 99," "V. Thirteen"). We also got "Beyond the Pale," one of the best songs Jones has ever written, dedicated last night to Joe Strummer (who cowrote much of No. 10 Upping St.).

Apart from the tip of the hat to Strummer, Jones didn't do a whole lot of "remember when" talk and kept things mostly free of drippy nostalgia. He was, however, jovial and chatty, joking with the audience between songs or when things went askew, like a false start to encore number "E=MC²."

Band co-founder Don Letts is just one of the coolest dudes on the planet, and B.A.D. really came alive on any song that featured him, of which there was a fair amount: foreign war critique "A Party," the hard-hitting London travelogue that is "Sightsee MC!" and the band's theme tune, "BAD." (Also the reggae hoedown "Battle of All Saints Road," though I would've prefered No. 10 Upping St.'s "Ticket.") Letts, who's inching towards 60, jumped around the stage, dreads hitting the ground, like it was 25 years ago.

If there was any disappointment it was they have been playing the same set at all these shows, so if you glanced at the setlist from, say, Manchester Academy two weeks ago you knew exactly what you were going to get. I would've liked a couple more songs from 1989's Megatop Phoenix (that album's single, "Contact," was conspicuously missing) but hopefully we'll get some different tracks next time. And I sure do hope there is a next time.

The full setlist, more pictures and some videos from the show, below...

Big Audio Dynamite

Big Audio Dynamite

Big Audio Dynamite

Big Audio Dynamite

Big Audio Dynamite

Big Audio Dynamite

Big Audio Dynamite

Big Audio Dynamite

Big Audio Dynamite

Big Audio Dynamite

Big Audio Dynamite

Big Audio Dynamite

BAD

B.A.D. - "Bad" @ Roseland Ballroom

B.A.D. - "Sightsee MC!" @ Roseland Ballroom

Big Audio Dynamite - Roseland Ballroom, April 19, 2011 Setlist
Medicine Show
Beyond The Pale
A Party
V Thirteen
BAD
...Just Play Music
C'Mon Every Beatbox
Sightsee M.C!
Other 99
The Battle of All Saints Road
Rewind

Encore:
The Bottom Line
E=MC2

Encore 2:
Rush
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Comments (33)

It was a great show. Frohawk was up front crying during Rush. I heard he scored a free ticket. How does he always do it?

Posted by Anonymous | April 20, 2011 3:21 PM

The reason why frohawk always gets free tickets, is due to the fact that he is a fabulous hummus cook and bribes his favorite bands with splendid hummus platters and homemade pita chips. It's like a barter system where everyone wins.

Posted by Anonymous | April 20, 2011 3:30 PM

They were great. Definitely did not seem to be mailing it in. I was impressed.

Posted by Anonymous | April 20, 2011 3:32 PM

They should have just done Bottom Line, gotten in a huge fight, and left the stage. We could have read that they broke up forever, and we would have seen the only truly great pop song that ever came out of the band.

Posted by Anonymous | April 20, 2011 3:33 PM

i didn't see Frohawk, but did anyone else witness the crazy catfight that broke out towards the left about ten feet from the stage?

Posted by chris g | April 20, 2011 3:33 PM

SWANS, BATTLES, DEERHOOF, etc. ADDED TO ATP ASBURY PARK!!!!

Posted by Anonymous | April 20, 2011 3:33 PM

SO LAME.

I am an atheist because a loving God would not have taken Joe Strummer and left us with Mick Jones.

Posted by Anonymous | April 20, 2011 3:56 PM

Mick Jones looks like the guys in trench coats I used to see at Playland in Times Square back in the 80s, lingering, trying to make conversation with young boys.

Posted by Anonymous | April 20, 2011 4:09 PM

his teeth are still pretty fucked up.

and this comment > I am an atheist because a loving God would not have taken Joe Strummer and left us with Mick Jones.

is hilarious.

Posted by Anonymous | April 20, 2011 4:14 PM

enough with the nostalgia shows already!

Posted by Anonymous | April 20, 2011 4:27 PM

Better teeth? Holy Christ

14 tunes seems three or four short of a full set but not every show is like LCD's last show.

Posted by Anonymous | April 20, 2011 4:58 PM

What happened in the encore of E=mc2--it was a mistake or what? they played it twice----great gig

Posted by QUIQUE | April 20, 2011 6:43 PM

3:56 - um, have you HEARD the last clash album? mick wrote pretty much everything in that band

Posted by Anonymous | April 20, 2011 7:57 PM

7:57 - Nothing against Mick or B.A.D. but it's not fair to peg that last album on Joe. That album was out of his control too, and he contributed as much as Mick to their other legendary albums.

Posted by Anonymous | April 20, 2011 11:48 PM

Would have gone if tickets were not $75... Any tickets available for cheap day of?

Posted by Anonymous | April 21, 2011 12:33 AM

goodness the avarge IQ of commenters on this blog has went down hill of late.
i'm talking about you, mick jones haters.

Posted by me | April 21, 2011 3:15 AM

(Anonymous) how pathetic havent even got the bottle to sign your name
I trvelled from Dublin to Manchester England to see BAD,the audiences were Electric, the Gig was fantastic, audiences an this gig seem asleep.

Posted by Carole | April 21, 2011 5:24 AM

7:57, Mick wasn't even on the last Clash album (cut the crap)

Posted by Anonymous | April 21, 2011 8:14 AM

roseland is kinda perfect place for action.
and very nice video and and pics.
good work at all...

Posted by Keçiören Nakliyat | April 21, 2011 10:56 AM

uh, frohawk was NOT there

Posted by Anonymous | April 22, 2011 1:53 PM

8:14 AM 4/21...Uh, duh...no reading comprehension skillz, eh?

Posted by Anonymous | April 22, 2011 7:46 PM

yet again you americans cease to amaze me stick to fighting wars and leave us to make decent music

Posted by rance | April 24, 2011 11:44 AM

yet again you americans cease to amaze me stick to fighting wars and leave us to make decent music

Posted by rance | April 24, 2011 11:50 AM

All the good music comes from america. You britts just bite our chuck berry riffs. And quit fucking with us fancy English man, we will bomb your tea and crumpets to the stone age.

Posted by Anonymous | April 24, 2011 1:22 PM

im not english im irish what did you give us the osmonds david cassidy and justin beiber we gave you joy division the clash the sex pistols oh i forgot you gave us line dancing i rest my case crawl back to your crack den

Posted by rance | April 24, 2011 4:24 PM

i refuse to get into a war of wits with someone who is obviously unarmed

Posted by rance | April 24, 2011 4:53 PM

^ oh sorry about that. Your Irish? Well in that case we will bomb your lucky charms and punt your leprechaun ass across the Atlantic into the south Bronx where you will realize that america is the real deal hollyfield.

Posted by Anonymous | April 24, 2011 7:04 PM

America- invented Rock and roll
Ireland- invented potato soup

Posted by Anonymous | April 24, 2011 8:01 PM

went to america once a bit like getting married wont be doing it again

Posted by rance | April 25, 2011 2:02 AM

south bronx don,t make me laugh try coming to south armagh besides unless your american indian your either english,irish .german,portugese.cuban .portugese descent

Posted by rance | April 25, 2011 11:08 AM

thought new york wos supposed to be awake all night you obviously ate to many hot dogs last night or did you spend the night in the cooler for xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by rance | April 25, 2011 2:16 PM

Rance... You bash america, yet you follow BROOKLYN vegan. I rest my case.

Posted by Anonymous | April 25, 2011 2:56 PM

only joking love u all really xxx

Posted by rance | April 26, 2011 1:41 PM

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