DC-based punk rockers The Goons have released their live show “The Goons live at The Black Cat,” which was recorded in 2001 during their tour with The Varukers and Molotov Cocktail. The setlist spans 15 tracks, most of which barely surpass the 2-minute mark, as the tracks all follow classic Punk Rock songwriting traditions. The prominent snare drum is the star of this show and the drum lines will make your face melt off as you listen to them. In addition to that, the power chords and octave chords make the songs simple yet punchy. These guys linger somewhere between standard punk rock and more modern-sounding hardcore punk.
The opening track, “White Tide”, was released as a single and it has been their show opener for a considerable number of years during their career. The following two tracks, “RTD” and “I’m Alright”, continue in the same fashion and then we can hear the set’s shortest and fastest track, “Human Wheel”, which made me want to thrash around and bang my head crazily. Following this, Serge announced that they are playing a new track for the first time and it’s entitled “Nation in Distress” and it’s my favorite track from this whole live set. The two following tracks, “GI Bill” and “Breakdown”, continue in the same thrashy and fast-paced fashion, with the snare drums being front and center and the vocalist, Serge, having incredible charisma and stage presence. The fact that you can hear the basslines and the vocals loud and clear serves to prove how well this live was mixed and post-produced. “America Hates Its Youth” is another track that stood out for me because of its memorable bassline and its awesome chorus/ main riff. The next track, “Storm Troopers of Good Faith”, is a little different as well. It starts with a chord progression that’s slower than the rest of the tracks, and it has some 70s rock and heavy metal elements that I haven’t heard in other tracks here- pretty similar to Mötorhead or The Dead Kennedys if you ask me. There is a breakdown after which the tempo changes, and at this point I was wondering how these guys weren’t exhausted or drained yet.
“Hey Yo”u” and “Revenue Machine” are when I really began to feel the band show some tiredness and some strain in the vocals and guitars, but this is the beauty of live shows and how you can feel that such powerful music is played by humans who can make mistakes, not machines. “What You Wanted” and “Every Day” are somewhat slower tracks that have some breathing space before the final track, “Ozone Alert”, brings back the speed and intensity. This is how you cab literally end your show with a bang. In conclusion, these guys know how to put on a show that will get everyone moshing, thrashing and hyped with energy for days after the show. The only weaknesses of this album are how the diverse and slowe tracks are few in number, but this is probably because their whole catalog is based on speed and heaviness and this is why their fans love them anyway.