In their prime and at their best, Eddie & the Hot Rods
might well have been the greatest live band you ever saw. Other bands had better songs and other bands were better musicians. But in terms of streaming adrenaline, compulsive dance-ability, and sheer good-time rock & roll energy, the Hot Rods
could run sneering rings around any of rock's higher-lauded concert gods, which means the virtual absence of any true document of their peak has frustrated fans for far too long. Two live EPs released in 1976-1977, after all, only hinted at the glory, but salvation is finally at hand, as Get Your Rocks Off
plugs the gap with almost demented flair.
The actual sound recording leaves a little to be desired; the mix is muddy and Barry Masters
' vocals float far too high above his bandmates. But the earliest-known recording of the group in concert, from Paris in early June 1976, nevertheless captures the band in full flight, hammering through bleeding-raw recountings of songs that would be polished for their debut album ("On the Run" received one of its first-ever airings here), and crunching with joyous disrespect across some of history's most sainted sacred cows.
"Gloria," "Satisfaction," "The Kids Are Alright," "Bye Bye Johnny," "Get Out of Denver," and, introduced as the band's next single, "Wooly Bully" are the sound of a garage band stepping onto the forecourt for the first time, all spiky guitars and locomotive percussion, and so high on wired enthusiasm that the CD's sonic flaws don't even register after the first few minutes. This is punk rock as it was originally conceived, this is rock & roll as it ought to be performed. And, compared to Eddie & the Hot Rods
, everyone else was simply throwing their teddies out of the pram.