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By: gunter habets about 2 months ago permalink

Welcome to the “Fugazi Irving Plaza juggernaut.” About a year and a half after the staggering Roseland Ballroom gigs in September 1993, Fugazi returned to the city of New York in the spring of 1995, playing three consecutive sold-out nights at the historic Irving Plaza,

“Constructed over 150 years ago, the building at 17 Irving Place has existed in many different incarnations. Originally, the building was four separate brownstones, which were eventually combined into a hotel in the 1870s. In 1927, the building was gutted and turned into a ballroom-style theater and christened Irving Plaza. Over the next few decades Irving Plaza would serve as a union meeting house, a performance space for folk dance troupes, and a Polish Army Veteran community center, as well as a venue for the Peoples Songs Hootenannies with Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie.

In 1978, Irving Plaza was converted into a rock music venue and has since hosted acts such as Talking Heads, the Ramones, U2, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, establishing its history as the premier music venue in New York City. Today, Irving Plaza continues to be a major stepping stone on the career paths of hundreds of artists every year.”

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By: gunter habets about 2 months ago permalink

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Between these three nights, the Red Medicine album (to be released some two months later) is on heavy rotation, as 12 out of 13 album tracks are presented (Version is the only song missing here). In On The Kill Taker provides 9 out of 12 album cuts. Steady Diet of Nothing and Repeater bring 4 out of 11 and 9 out of 11 songs to the table respectively, while the 3 Songs 7 inch, the Margin Walker EP and 7 Songs debut EP further complete the set lists with 2 out of 3 tracks, 3 out of 6 tracks and 6 out of 7 tracks each.

A quick search learns that a number of live recordings documenting Fugazi’s stopover at Irving Plaza have been circulating the internet for years (nights two and three in particular). Even though I haven’t verified all of these, it seems these registrations are in fact the exact same recordings which are available through the Fugazi Live Series catalogue brought to you by Dischord Records.

It appears that the Irving Plaza performances have achieved wide critical acclaim, having been mentioned on several internet forums as another series of incredible, memorable series of shows in Fugazi history as well as having been documented extensively by iconic photographer and friend of the band Glen E. Friedman (see, inter alia, the inserts above) in his phenomenal book Keep Your Eyes Open: The Fugazi Photographs.

However, while the actual band performances rightly demand attention and general praise, I feel that the recordings of the first and second night at the Irving Plaza insufficiently capture the heart and soul of these events and as such, unfortunately, fail to engage or deliver.

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By: gunter habets about 2 months ago permalink

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Indeed, both of these documents sound notably suppressed or muffled overall and, as a result, merely hint at the sheer force and energy with which the band steamrolled its audience in NYC. True, part of the first recording did get salvaged, but considering this includes just a handful of songs (Great Cop, Blueprint, By You, Forensic Scene and Promises) this offers rather little consolation.

Because of these issues, and given the vast amount of alternative, and better sounding, Fugazi performances available, I am guessing I will not revisit these recordings anytime soon.

I genuinely and repeatedly tried to connect with these recordings, but eventually simply failed to do so. In this light, I probably consider them of interest for the completists or the nostalgic lucky bastards actually having attended the concerts at the time (do note that some of the in-between song chatter, while scarce, is entertaining and worth mentioning, case in point, Guy’s English nurse reveries, something about “Mercury[being] in retrograde” or a cold front moving down from Canada).

Fortunately, the audio quality of the recording documenting Fugazi’s third and final night at the Irving Plaza comes out on top, sounding virtually impeccable and being mixed to near perfection. Joe comes in late on the set opener Blueprint but once those first bass chords hit, you are in for a treat.

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By: gunter habets about 2 months ago permalink

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Listening closely, I actually remember having downloaded this superb soundboard recording years and years ago. While the banter again is few and far between, Guy’s “bonobo rap” certainly triggers memories and puts a smile on my face, “[…] another string along the line of primates is this animal called the bonobo chimp, and instead of working out their problems with aggression, like let’s say they both wanna eat an orange, what they end up doing is they fuck and then they share, it’s an unbelievable society, not only do they fuck, they’re the only other primates besides human beings that fuck face to face, they’re the only primates that engage in crazy homosexual practices like penis fencing and genital rubbing, so we have a lot to learn from the bonobo chimp.” Ian then quips, “sounds like a club that anyone of us would like to join”, before dedicating Bed For The Scraping to “genital fencing.”

So, if anything, I suggest it is worth getting this recording to experience and relive at least one night with Fugazi at the Irving Plaza. And for those familiar with Jem Cohen’s Instrument, it can be mentioned that the Brendan #1 excerpt featured in the Fugazi documentary dates back to this particular moment in time.

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Fugazi Live Series FLS0644 Fugazi New York City, NY USA 4/04/95

If you had a different price in mind for this download Click Here.
Show Date:
 1995-04-04
Venue:
 Irving Plaza
Door Price:
 6
Attendance:
 1100
Played with:
 Slant 6, Cakelike
Recorded by
 Joey Picuri
Mastered by
 Warren Russell-Smith
Original Source:
 Cassette
Sound Quality:
 Poor Good Very Good Excellent

"Mercury is in retrograde!"

Play Sample Track
1. Intro
2. Turnover
3. Styrofoam
4. Public Witness Program
5. Birthday Pony
6. Exit Only
7. And The Same
8. Latest Disgrace
9. Interlude 1
10. By You
11. Long Division
12. Fell, Destroyed
13. Interlude 2
14. Suggestion
15. Burning
16. Interlude 3
17. Back To Base
18. Do You Like Me
19. Interlude 4
20. Instrument
21. Two Beats Off
22. Repeater
23. Encore
24. Joe #1
25. Bed For The Scraping
26. Forensic Scene
27. Sweet and Low
28. Shut the Door
29. Outro

Please Note: Available recordings have been mastered to correct for volume shifts, drop outs, etc. but some sonic anomalies will still exist, especially early in the set when the mix is being settled. The band has rated each show for sound quality and set the general price of a download at $5 per show. If you have a different price in mind feel free to utilize the alternative pricing option.