The self-titled BODY COUNT album from 1992 stirred up a shit storm with the controversial "Cop Killer". But what gets lost in the fray is that the album also includes a batch of memorable, righteously offensive, and uncompromisingly aggressive songs like "KKK Bitch", "On with the Body Count", "There Goes the Neighborhood", and "Bowels of the Devil". Ice-T had his share of detractors and probably still does, but those songs and that album left a scar on the face of the music scene that people still talk about today.
Those same songs, along with several from the spotty and middling "Born Dead", were performed at a 2004 tribute show at Los Angeles' Troubadour club, sounding even more raucous and heavier than the originals. After the deaths of drummer Beatmaster V, bassist Mooseman (from a drive-by shooting in South Central), and drummer D-Roc, vocalist Ice-T and lead guitarist Ernie C. are left as the only original members. Ice-T pays respect to his fallen comrades during an energetic set that includes songs from the self-titled debut and "Born Dead", as well as material from the forthcoming "Murder 4 Hire", most notably the fast and ripping title track. The mid-tempo nasty groove of "Bring it to Pain" includes an appearance by a leather-clad, well-proportioned blonde on which Ice-T performs simulated rough-sex acts (bare breasts and all) before violently casting her aside; a heart-warming display of family values to be sure.
As for the sound and performance, the guitars are bitingly raw and the band is on fire. Ernie C. cranks out screaming leads, including a full-body solo at the end of "Evil Dick". Drummer O.G. performs a solo during "There Goes the Neighborhood" as well; maybe not the best I've heard due to a few awkward spots, but not terrible. Overall, the set is a fiery one. Sure, there is an element of cheese throughout, but that does not make the performances any less enjoyable or in-your-face.
The bonus material includes a CD with two new tracks ("Dirty Bombs" and "Passion") from the upcoming studio album. Mostly mid-tempo and hook-less, both are basically forgettable. The DVD itself also includes an interview with Ice-T and a backstage meet-and-greet. Unfortunately, my promotional copy contains none of it. A quick check with a fellow writer confirms that it is in fact an issue with the promotional copy, rather than any technological ineptness on my part (at least in this case). I'll assume that the absence of menu options, specifically the inability to move from track to track (a major pain in the ass), is a problem with the promotional copy as well, though I'm not certain of it. Bottom line? Nostalgia buffs and BODY COUNT fans will want "Live in L.A.". in their collections.