Leicester 1977 [no label 1CD]

Live at De Montfort Hall, May 13 1977. Ex- SBD stereo

With their debut single and album confirming the media's insistence that the Clash represented at least one of several viable Future Of Rock 'n' Rolls, the last gang in town hit the UK road in spring 1977 with one of the most volatile live shows of the era. And this disc captures it all at its most ferocious. Well, not all. Taken from a BBC broadcast, Leicester 77 kicks off three songs into the set, with "London's Burning" and "1977" falling by the wayside (although the latter reappears at the end of the show). Elsewhere, however, it's a snarlingly straightforward run through the bulk of the first album, with "Police And Thieves" ("rest your sweaty armpits and move yer knees!" insists Strummer) a fiery show stopper, and the non-LP "Capital Radio" an unexpected highlight.

The sound quality is a little scratchy, but so were the Clash themselves at this point. Certainly there's little to choose between this and the Cardiff gig, recorded a few nights later and generally described as the best period Clash boot of them all. - Dave Thompson

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February 15, 2008