Mick Jones & Big Audio Dynamite Explode into America
No one ever really thought a Clash reunion was a great idea. After all, middle aged men hitting the stage hollering, “I wanna riot” is a tricky proposition. But Mick Jones’ brilliant post-Clash project Big Audio Dynamite was insulated from nostalgia by dint of being a steadfastly futuristic undertaking from the get. Indeed, they were arguably sampling’s most prolific pioneers. And their lyrics didn’t so much call for Thatcher’s march to the guillotine (as did those of one Steven Patrick Morrissey) as they did figuratively dump her on the political garbage heap of history.
Jonesy has kept busy since B.A.D. disbanded officially in 1997. He produced records for The Libertines and Babyshambles, formed Carbon/Silicon with Tony James, and even did time in 2010 with with Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz (who, along with LCD Soundsystem, are arguably B.A.D.’s most perfectly realized progeny). During that time, a generation of hipster bands — half of them probably signed to DFA — formed and thrived around B.A.D.’s electro-punk aesthetic principles: infectious grooves, obscure samples, clever lyrical poetics, unavoidable hooks, and kitchen-sink pastiche. So Jones’ decision to reform the band seemed a virtual inevitably. With triumphant UK dates just behind, they’ll be taking the stage April 14th at the Roxy in Hollywood (where Mick first played with The Clash in 1980), before a wildly buzzed-about appearance two days later at Coachella…and then winding up at New York’s Roseland Ballroom on the 19th.
They’ve been trotting out all the classics, from party anthems “Just Play Music” and “C’mon Every Beatbox” to the haunting, exhilarating Nicholas Roeg tribute “E=MC2” — so remember to bring your dancing shoes. But one imagines it will be the raucous “Bottom Line” that strikes the most poignant note, with its uncannily relevant lyric, “A dance to the tune of economic decline / Is when you do the bottom line / Nagging questions always remain / Why did it happen and who was to blame”– reminding us, of course, to always dance like there’s no tomorrow.