Lucid Culture


Concert Review from Somebody Else’s Archives: The False Prophets Live

A New York band from the 80s and early 90s signed to Jello Biafra’s Alternative Tentacles label, the False Prophets started out as punk bordering on hardcore and that’s pretty much how they were perceived, although they were far more ambitious, both lyrically and musically, than any of their compatriots from that era. They used horns and keyboards in addition to the standard bass/drums/guitar lineup, with all kinds of breaks, interludes and a very theatrical, somewhat performance art-oriented feel (check out their sprawling anarcho-art-rock monstrosity Marat-Sade to see how far outside they could go when they felt like it). Go to the first page of the 1988 CBGB footage and watch frontman Stephan Ielpi rail against gentrification. It was almost twenty years ago that he was forced out of his East Village apartment and exiled to what was then the wilds of Brooklyn. Plus ca change. That’s James White. of all people, playing sax on the intro to the absolutely hilarious Beautiful Day.

Check out the Rock Against Racism footage at Central Park and watch a teenage Debra Adele (now with Devi) playing nasty, off-the-edge-of-the-cliff blues-rock riffs. Pretty amazing to see how she’s evolved without losing any of the intensity of her punk rock years.

The Palladium footage includes one of their best songs, the deliriously melodic, almost powerpop number Limit of the Limitless. The False Prophets weren’t always the most articulate band, but they never sacrificed substance for style. As David Gilmour famously said, rock n roll means there are no rules and this band lived and breathed that philosophy. For anyone who was there, this will be a delicious blast from the past: just around the time that grunge was taking its first tentative, pretentious, self-involved steps out of the cesspool, here was a band that was all about their music and the society they lived in. May every kid who wants to start a band see this footage and be inspired to push the envelope as hard, fast and far as the False Prophets did.

December 2, 2007 - Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. thanks Lucid! the false prophets were my rocknroll high school and college all rolled into one and i couldn’t have had a better mad professor than stephan ielpi, who was open to the widest & wildest range of musical ideas of anyone i’ve ever encountered. what a great front man & what a fun/fierce band. we had us some adventures 😉

    Comment by deb | December 17, 2007 | Reply

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