Sometimes B.A.D.--as in Big Audio Dynamite, ex-Clashman Mick Jones' new band--is good. Performing before a full house at the Florentine Gardens on Wednesday, the London-based quintet actually coaxed a cohesive sound out of the mirrored ballroom.
B.A.D.'s dense, politically correct dance-rock sounded better live than on the quintet's debut album. Punchier and less cluttered, for one thing. Exceptional use of whacked-out sound collages, for another. But sometimes B.A.D. is bad. A $15 ticket price for an hour on stage with no opening act? (Yo, Mick, what happened to worker solidarity?) Playing the entire album virtually note-for-note, without a trace of spontaneity, let alone a memorable instrumental passage? And that garageland version of Prince's "1999"?
And sometimes B.A.D. is mediocre. While drummer Greg Roberts and bassist Leo (E-Zee Kill) Williams make a tight rhythm section, and keyboardist Dan Donovan and percussionist-vocalist-effects operator Don Letts do yeoman-like work, the grooves they whip up are ultimately stiff as meringue. Gotta work that sucker to death, bad boys. Beyond Williams' and Letts' yardlong dreadlocks, there isn't much happening visually either.
Still, guitarist/vocalist Jones is to be commended, if not for the concept of a hip-hop/punk-rock fusion, then for pulling it off more effectively than his ex-Clashmates' equally noble but ultimately worthless attempt at punk-rock retrogression. B.A.D. will detonate the reopened Whiskey tonight.