Husker Du’s infancy period consisted of one year of taking inexpensive amphetamines and racing through songs without any regard for melody. Of course, this attention to melody would later define the majority of their recorded output. Claiming that the Huskers weren’t concerned with melody may come across as pejorative and uncomplimentary, but during the year of 1981 Husker Du was a full-scale sonic blitzkrieg. Ostensibly speaking, their debut album “Land Speed Record” does not stand a chance when compared to their later catalog. The first few years of the band’s existence is still a period worth considering. This San Francisco show from July of 1981 chronicles this period arguably better than the live album that was officially released on Mike Watt’s New Alliance label.
This tape is a strong and clear soundboard recording that features a mix that boasts considerable integrity. Husker Du largely grew up in public and this document exhibits a band embracing a naturally sloppy approach. The sense of energy the Huskers had in 1981 was charming even if it’s crude and undeveloped. It can be argued that Husker Du was caught up in the hardcore zeitgeist of the early 1980s, but they seemed to transcend that definition with a different sense of urgency and fervor. This show defends this claim, strongly.
(There is some speculation about the date of this show amongst Husker Du aficionados. This show either occurred on July 24th or 25th, 1981. I listed the show as on the 24th because that's what my tape originally had written on it when I received it years ago.)