Reading 1981 [no label 1CD Torrent: 113328]

Live at Reading Festival

A tough, taut recording of what would become Girlschool’s finest hour, headlining the first night of the 1981 Reading Rock festival with a set that confirmed their growing reputation as the hardest hitting British metal band of the age, regardless of gender and looks. Possibly truncated (to 30 minutes) for radio broadcast, and suffering from the usual sonic imperfections that often mar such recordings, the set is understandably heavy on cuts from the recently released Hit And Run album - in fact, the first three songs, “C’mon Let’s Go,” “The Hunter” and “Victim,” echo the opening overture of the album itself, before “Breakdown” (“this is about the slowest we get”) and a riotous “Nothing To Lose” spiral back to Demolition days.

Later in the show, “Tonight” punches past at a delirious Mach Ten, “Race With The Devil” is as savage as it ought to be… and it’s all over way too soon. Which was what happened to Girlschool as well. Just months after this show, bassist Enid Williams departed and, while the band lived on for a few years more, the glory days were at an end. But at least we still have the albums, and thank God we have this recording as well. - Dave Thompson

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September 12, 2008