Home Read Classic Album Review: Subhumans | Live In A Dive

Classic Album Review: Subhumans | Live In A Dive

The veteran punks return from oblivion — with their fire in their bellies still burning.

This came out in 2004 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Back in the day, The Tubes had a great song called I Was A Punk Before You Were a Punk. That could almost be Subhumans’ theme song.

Formed back when Johnny was still Rotten, these U.K. old-school bashers combined the snotty guitar riffage of The Sex Pistols with the political anthems of the early Clash. Now, nearly a quarter-century later, the old geezers have brought the act out of mothballs to spread the word to the next generation. Their first sermon comes in the form of the blistering 67-minute nostalgia-fest Live In A Dive. Recorded last year in California before a crowd who probably weren’t even born when the band began, this 26-song set list spans the Subs’ lengthy career from classics like All Gone Dead to new material like This Year’s War.

Admittedly, some of their messages are pretty standard stuff: Conformity is bad, society is out to program you, government is the enemy, power corrupts, religion is evil, blah blah blah. But the band are as potent and compelling as ever — perhaps even more so, since they can still summon the ferocity of youth but can now deliver it with the precision and skill of maturity. Yeah, they were punks before you were — and the way they’re going, they might still be punks long after you’re done.