GIG 265: Life of Agony / Ruth Ruth / Bif Naked – LA2, 20th February 1996

Working at a record shop wasn’t all about standing around listening to, and chattingg about, music all day. Sure, it was great being able to play what you wanted through the stores speaker system, buy discounted music, and chat industry gossip with the record company reps that came by – as well as meeting a variety of musicians who either shopped where I worked as they lived locally or came by on promotional visits. But one of the big perks that I especially enjoyed was being giving free tickets, or guest passes, for gigs or being invited to record company events showcasing new bands or album launches. Life of Agony was the first gig I got to go to free of charge through the store.

Bif Naked was the first singer to hit the LA2 stage on this Tuesday evening. I’d not heard her music before, although I had seen her debut album in the stores, so I wasn’t sure what to expect… but WOW. Bif Naked was brilliant and I was converted. That debut album was mine the next day and I still listen to her every so often 27 years later. She was brilliant live and I’d urge anyone who has not heard of her to check her out… either one of her many great tracks or the brilliant cover she did of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” which I probably play more than the original these days.

I wasn’t so keen on Ruth Ruth, but then wasn’t really in to the whole ‘pop/punk’ sound that a lot of American ‘punk’ bands seemed to be getting in to. They were ok, but certainly after a brilliant opening set by Bif Naked combined with their musical style they were my least favourite of the night by some way.

I’m guessing Life of Agony were touring to support their second album, “Ugly”, that had been released a few months earlier in October 1995. I knew a little of their music, having heard some tracks at the metal clubs I went to, but they weren’t a band I listened to at home – although I did pick up the two albums they’d released after seeing them live. They were good live and would ordinarily been the best band of the night – but given Bif Naked was on the same bill, and how much she really impressed me – they had to settle for second place in my book. Still, they were great to see and I’m certainly glad I did.

Life Of Agony – Through And Through
Price: £8.00 (Record Company Freebie)

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