Violent Femmes - We Can Do Anything

by Jim Harris Rating:10 Release Date:2016-03-04

If you were around in the 80s and were able to see a live concert of the Violent Femmes, you witnessed one of the coolest concert experiences ever. With the house lights off, you heard this adolescent, doped-up, edgy voice slowly whispering out: "Day after day, I will walk and I will play, but the day after today, I will stop and I will start…" 

He repeated this until everyone was pushed up to the stage and singing this phrase louder and louder, and then these three dudes acoustically jammed out their best song, ‘Add It Up’. Frankly, a Femmes concert in the 80s was a religious experience. They were really what should have been considered country-punk, not bands like Social D and Jason and the Scorchers and the like. 

The Femmes played and told warped country songs that were funny, scary, and always irreverent.  All with this pounding funky country beats. They were the coolest band in the 80s in the Midwest.  Yes, I saw Michael Stipe leave arm and arm with a carrot top Art Major during his ‘I can’t understand the words he’s singing’ period and I watched from a balcony the most comical thing happen to Bono in a packed house of 150 people in Champaign-Urbana during the Boy album (He was ridiculously emoting and trying to bond with the thirty or so people standing at the far left edge of the stage, when he suddenly decided to fall into the crowd.  It was before people knew the appropriate response however.  The crowd parted, got out of his way, and Bono fell comically on his knees and palms.  (Luckily they weren’t quite as big then and the floor was closer…)

But the Femmes.  God band.  They still are.  I can’t say a bad word about this album.  It would be blasphemous and I like it.  No, it has none of the spiritual quality of ‘Gone Daddy Gone’ or ‘Blister in the Sun’ but Jesus Christ, it’s been fucking decades.  But the opening track ‘Memory’ made me laugh out loud and the splintered base and acoustics of ‘Untrue Love’ and ‘Issues’ and all of them really, tell a great story of one of the most influential bands in the 80s and for the most part, I will let them do anything and if you want more find the album where he sings, ‘I hope…you get…fat…” The Violent Femmes are one of my top five bands of all time.  

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