7 Seconds – Scream Real Loud…Live

7 Seconds
Scream Real Loud…Live

Wow, 7 Seconds has been doing this for a long time. Any punk band that stays together and releases albums consistently since the early 1980’s deserves some respect in my book. Several full-lengths and a host of 7-inchs later, 7 Seconds releases this live album, recorded in Hollywood. And for a punk band, I have to say these California kids do it pretty damn well.

Nothing here that you won’t expect. It’s all fast-paced punk-rock, much of it with political leanings. The drums are fast and typical, the guitar driving the music into the punk-hardcore realm, and the vocals sung/shouted without being too raspy or annoying. The band has plenty of “whoa-oaaa” and other backing vocals, many shouted along with the crowd here.

A few of the songs here really impress me. “Message From a Friend” really gets me going, with its driving guitars and more hardcore sound and finally a break from typical punk repetition. Despite the terrible drumming, “Definite Choice” has some great guitar and a super sped-up beat. And I really like the band’s cover of “99 Red Balloons,” all sped-up and punked out, sounding like it was meant that way, with a cool little guitar groove thrown in. Do you remember that song?

Some are made better because of the crowd participation. “Not Just Boy’s Fun” is one such song, and the damn sing-along chorus, which is apparently about singing along, of “Here We Go Again, Kids” is pretty damn fun live, even though the band has to stop to remind the crowd to “take care of each other at these fuckin’ shows.” And “The Crew” seems to be all about just going “ohhh-ohhhh” all melodically. The band gets the crowd to clap along during the end of “99 Red Balloons,” and they spit out the lead to “In Your Face:” “Use your – head! Be – aware! Give a – fuck!”

I honestly get a bit sick of all the political punk-rock. But “If the Kids are United” is a pretty decent song, and the band presents their message relatively simple, especially with the entire venue shouting out the chorus: “If the kids are united, they will never be divided,” which just makes sense, I suppose.

With 26 songs in under 50 minutes, you know what to expect. This is fast, hard-rocking punk songs, nothing too original. I’m not a huge punk fan, but I am impressed by how well the band comes across live. It’s not easy for a punk band to sound anything other than noisy live. And this band has obviously been doing this for a long time. They come across relaxed and having fun, and that comes across in the songs as well as the between-song banter. I wouldn’t likely buy any of their albums, but this is a good summation of a decent punk band.