Big Audio Dynamite II detonates a powerful performance

By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
October 7, 1991

“If I had my time again, I would do it all the same,” Mick Jones sang Saturday night at the Riviera.  But with his superb band, Big Audio Dynamite II, Jones made it clear he had no interest in repeating anything musically.

B.A.D. II’s guitar-heavy sound was augmented by a disc jockey and pre-recorded tapes that spit out hip-hop samples and keyboard tracks.  This offstage technology played a major role in the success of the title track to the band’s latest album “The Globe,” which began with syncopated sneezes that sounded a lot like the beginning of the Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”  On the other hand, “Medicine Show,” from B.A.D.’s 1985 debut, was an all-out rocker that the group performed with punk fervor.

When Jones announced halfway through B.A.D. II’s concert that there would be a brief intermission, there was perplexed silence in the audience.  It just didn’t seem right that a former punk rocker from the Clash would need a break. But by the end of the two-hour show, that break was forgotten, as sweaty fans filed out of the club  singing one of rock’s most simple, yet telling lines from “Rush”: “Somehow I stayed thin, while all the other guys got fat.”

The Farm opened the show with a tight, confident hourlong set that won the Liverpudlians an encore.  Their set included a hard rock version of the Monkees’ “Stepping Stone” that ranked right up with the Sex Pistols cover from more than a decade ago.

During the Farm’s “All Together Now” finale, Mick Jones and a couple of his B.A.D. II bandmates came out and joined them, adding snippets of Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” and the Beatles’ “She Loves You.”  The united front was a welcome surprise, and it set the stage for one of this year’s most entertaining shows.

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