Gang Green – “Can’t Live Without It” (1990)

I have a strange fascination with Gang Green. They’re recording hey-day was the mid to late 1980s, and I have no recollection of them from that time, but I wasn’t into punk/hardcore, so that’s excusable. I seem to have always know of them, though, and I finally got around to checking them out back in 2013 with a copy of Another Wasted Night. Since then I’ve picked up three more of their records, most recently the 1990 live album Can’t Live Without It. (♠)

Unlike a lot of hardcore bands that are straight edge or sing about political, social, or animal rights issues, Gang Green are pretty much about beer and skating. This live album (recorded in London) opens with “Let’s Drink Some Beer,” which is followed by “Bartender” (the B side includes “Alcohol”), so they’re very transparent. To me their style of hardcore is perhaps closer to metal, more specifically thrash, which probably explains why I’m drawn to them.

The recording quality on Can’t Live Without It is very good for a live punk record. The band blazes through the 15 songs, moving swiftly from one to the next and leaving me almost out of breath and exhausted just listening to them. One of my favorite moments is the band’s classic 1980s cover of ‘Til Tuesday’s “Voices Carry,” which also appeared on Another Wasted Night. There’s just something about punk covers of pop songs that I find enjoyable – and judging by the relative success of Me First & The Gimmie Gimmies, I’m not the only one.

Another winner from Gang Green.


(♠) Given that this is Gang Green, I can only assume that the “It” referred to in the title is beer, and more specifically Budweiser.