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Kiss – 73 Atrocities (Rocket Ride Records RRR 013)

73 Atrocities (Rocket Ride Records RRR 013)

1973 was an incredible career in the early evolution of KISS, most know of the groups origins but here is the quick version. Gene and Paul were in limbo after the demise of Wicked Lester and find an add in Rolling Stone magazine and Peter Criss enters the picture. The trio rehearse in the fall of 1972, needing a second guitarist Paul places an ad in Village Voice and they find the man who had “Flash and Ability” in Ace Frehley who would officially join KISS in December 1972. While not technically the most proficient players in the New York City scene, the group had an obvious chemistry and while songs like Firehouse, Deuce, and Black Diamond had already been written in 72, much of what would find its way on their debut and next couple records would be written at least in part during this first magical year together. This release by the KISS specialty label, Rocket Ride Records, collects the known audio from this year and presents it in one complete volume. While the majority of this material has been in collector’s circles for some time, this is the first time it has been presented in this fashion.

Disc 1 (56:45) Electric Lady Demos – June 17, 1973: Deuce, Cold Gin, Strutter, Watchin’ You, Black Diamond. The Loft, 10 East 23rd St, New York, NY – September 1973: Sound Check, Strutter, Firehouse, Watchin’ You, Let Me Know, Life In The Woods, Acrobat

Most attribute the Electrtic Lady demos to March 1973 so the above date is wrong. Gene and Paul had done work at the studio and these demos were done as a form of payment. It was produced and engineered by Dave Wittman and only supervised by the legendary Eddie Kramer and completed on March 13, 1973. Deuce and Strutter were officially released on the 2001 Box set, the full demo has been on bootlegs for some time, amazingly I do not have any of them so this was certainly a selling point to me. The quality is excellent, recorded on 4 track, it is incredible to think that the foursome was only together for three months at this point, they are totally in sync and the energy bristles on the tape.

The Loft rehearsal tape has also been reassessed since it was release in 2014 as Unreleased Spring 1973 Rehearsal (Zodiac 059). Originally thought to be in preparation for the Amityville run of shows at the Daisy, it is now believed to have been just before the bands private showcase at La Tang Studios for Neil Bogart, Kenny Kerner, and Ritchie Wise and other record executives. The sound and content is identical to the Zodiac release, the rehearsal itself is great, you can hear the band work through a live set in a casual fashion, the playing is very together, I have always liked Gene’s bass sound on this tape, while never really included in greatest bass players lists, he was actually an excellent musician as these early tapes prove. The band almost jam a bit on Strutter, Ace’s leads are impeccable throughout.

Disc 2 (74:49) The Daisy, Amityville, NY – June 16, 1973 – Set 1: Nothin’ To Lose, Firehouse, Life In The Woods, Simple Type, Acrobat, Deuce, 100,000 Years, Black Diamond. The Daisy, Amityville, NYJune 16, 1973 – Set 2: Strutter, Watchin’ You, Let Me Know. The Coventry, Queens, NYDecember 21, 1973: Deuce, Cold Gin

The majority of the second disc is made up from the recording from The Daisy in Amityville, NY in the summer of 1973. The recording was first released on torrent sites in late 2013 and made its way into the collectors market via a couple excellent titles, Horny Bitches & Daisy Daze (The Godfatherecords G.R. 978) and Amityville 1973 (Zodiac 051). When compared to the Godfather title, the sound has been amplified slightly but is still strong and clear with perhaps just a tad more hiss that one would expect, very strong and clear. Far away from the bright lights of the big city, the band seems at ease during this performance and delivers a great performance with a small bar club type atmosphere.

The last two songs are from the historic Coventry shows in December 1973, the band had recently finished recording its debut record and these two shows represent the first time all four members work the white face paint make up, dressed in black leather and featuring choreographed stage moves. Both the 21 and 22 were video taped, sadly the footage from this first night was mostly taped over with the second night. The footage from the second night was finally released officially as part of KISSOLOGY III set. The recording is of very good quality though somewhat lo-fi as one would assume, it is a soundboard and features an introduction telling the audience of their new record and promoting their appearance at the Academy of Music on New Years Eve. There are some drop outs during the first minute of Strutter, but the energy of the band is evident from the first note. The power and aggression is tenfold over previous versions of the song on this set, the band is very together, sadly the recording ends at the 2:40 mark in Cold Gin.

Disc 3 (73:55) The Coventry, Queens, NY  – December 22, 1973: Deuce, Cold Gin, Nothin’ To Lose, Strutter, Firehouse, Let Me Know, 100,000 Years, Black Diamond, Baby Let Me Go. The Academy Of Music, New York, NYDecember 31, 1973: Deuce, Cold Gin, Nothin’ To Lose, Firehouse, Let Me Know, 100,000 Years, Black Diamond

The second night at the Coventry features audio taken from the KISSOLOGY set, it is very good but certainly lacks dynamics, as most fans of the video retrospectives know, it is clear and well balanced. The Coventry is an important piece of KISStory, it was the site of the groups first concert in January 1973 when the club was know as Popcorn. The music if fully formed, the act, while still in its embryonic stage, is there and visually the stage outfits and make up pretty much there, Paul still trying to figure out his.

The Academy of Music gig on New Years Eve is KISS’ first gig on a big stage, opening for National acts, the headliner Blue Oyster Cult also came from the bowels of New York City as well and Iggy and The Stooges. There were two shows from the headliners that night, KISS only performed at the first show, thankfully some enterprising rock fan captured the occasion. The audio is as bit rough, Ace’s guitar is in the forefront, the vocals come through and Peter’s drums are virtually inaudible, Paul’s guitar is very low in the background and Gene’s bass is like a low rumble. There is obvious distortion present and one is left with a raw but listenable sound, after a few songs the sound does settle down but never rises above fair. This is KISS’ first big show and they are in great form, the playing is tight and they play with an attitude that they are the biggest band on the planet. Firehouse is particularly interesting, it sounds like they use feedback instead of the siren, the sound is rough so I may be wrong. 100,000 Years has a brief Peter drum solo just as Paul starts his “Do you feel alright” rap, there is a few digital skips throughout this song, something that can be jarring due to the sound quality of the recording. The audience response at the end of Black Diamond tells us, and the band, that their hard work in 1973 was worth the blood, sweat and tears they put into it.

The packaging is quite nice, full color inserts adorned with a plethora of early live shots, outtakes from the first album cover and gig ads and ticket stub from the New Years Eve gig. An insert with even more great shots is included as is the highly collectable sticker. While some of this material has circulated prior, this is an excellent set to own, never has it been compiled together and in generally very good to excellent sound. For KISS fan’s this is an essential release and comes with my full recommendation.

If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)

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9 comments

  1. I am sure relayer67 takes a lot of time out of his busy schedule to grace us with his hard work and informative reviews. For the amount of articles he submits (which has kept CMR going lately), I think he has done an excellent job. Let’s all be grateful that the site is still up and running. Kudos to relayer67, stuart, and cliff for their posts in the wake of Gerard’s passing.

    • Careful Axeman Eugene

      Yes…I agree very much. The efforts of relayer67, as well as those of everybody else here who have kept this excellent site still going for more than 4 years after the tragic passing of Gerard in very early 2013, are greatly very much appreciated. THANKS to all you guys!

      Also, has anybody heard the new Pink Floyd 2CD digipak “Trip Through Germany” by Eat a Peach (EAT 170/171)? Very unfortunately, I just got it, and I have to warn anybody who may be interested that it’s a major disappointment…not due to its quality, but because it most certainly is NOT the Nov. 27th, 1970 show in Hanover, Germany as claimed. It has turned out that it’s actually the Nov. 14th (1970) show in Hamburg, Germany…the same show that has been previously released as the “Corrosion” 2CD by Sigma, which is an upgrade of “Improvisations” by Ayanami. And this new version by Eat a Peach doesn’t sound like much of an upgrade of Sigma’s “Corrosion”…if it’s actually an upgrade at all! I would say that it’s such a disappointment to even be considered somewhat of a rip-off, except with some very nice artwork. After my big disappointment in Eat a Peach’s Roger Waters (& GE Smith) 2CD digipak “A Genius Portrait” ( https://www.collectorsmusicreviews.com/waters-roger/roger-waters-and-g-e-smith-a-genius-portrait-eat-a-peach-eat-8687/#comment-14796 ), I have to honestly say that I’m rather disgusted with Eat a Peach…despite all their other CD releases that I’ve bought being great.

      • Thanks for ther info on ‘Trip Through Germany’. Given Eat’s previous releases I shall give them the benefit of the doubt, and assume this is a genuine error. Disappointing, nevertheless.

        • Guys, reading your constant complaining makes me laugh because you’re nothing but bored collectors, who even cannot hear the differences between two different shows.

          Let’s start from the beginning. First, Sirene isn’t from Hamburg but from Hannover. In fact, this title is sourced from a different tape transfer, where some songs have been placed out of order (a good example of that is a track titled Corrosion, which was played as an instrumental jam before the Embryo).

          A newly circulated and much better sounding transfer started to circulate just two or three years ago and this version has correct song order. There’s a second tape recorder for the Hannover show, which features only three songs (Green is the Colour, Careful and Set the Controls) and this tape is released on Sigma’s In Germany 1970-71.

          Now let’s get back to the main subject, the Hannover show. I did a careful comparison between this show and Hamburg one (which features only two songs, Astronomy Domine and Fat Old Sun), and here’s what I found.

          Before Fat Old Sun, on the Hannover tape, Roger introduced this song as “the new song … it’s called Fat Old Sun”, while on the Hamburg tape, he introduced this song as “ok … this is the song off a … latest album … Atom Heart Mother. The song is Dave’s song. It’s called Fat Old Sun.”

          So, we got two different introductions to the same song. The hall ambience is much different as both tapers recorded this show from a much different location (Hamburg is much clearer and less distant – it sounds so clear that very possibly the mics have been positioned much closer to the stage while Hannover seemed to be taken from somewhere from the middle of the hall as there’s more distance and echo on the tape). The reaction of the people around the taper differs much from each other – just take a look at some whistling around the taper on Hamburg tape before and after each song and then compare it to the dully reacting Hannover audience. I have to be very but very deaf to not notice the difference between these two shows LOL

          This link reveals a story of the Hannover tape, along with its upgrades that have been circulated over the years:

          http://ygbc.orgfree.com/rec.details/70/WW_1970-11-27_14_ERNST_MERCK_UPGRADE.htm

          So, Sirene is not from Hannover but from a different show or, what’s also possible, mixes two shows together as for many years many late 1970 shows have been mixed up and much often these late 1970 dates have been incorrectly attributed (a good example of this procedure is famous gig titled Pictures of Pink Floyd, originally released as 2 LP set and commonly attributed to the 1970-11-11 Gothenburg, Sweden; because of further researching now this show is attributed to the 1970-11-28 Saarbrucken, West Germany but it should be treated still as speculative date).

          It looks like the song called Corrosion (which is just a temporary title as this improvisation has never been recorded in the studio) was performed few times during the November 1970 tour and if Pictures of Pink Floyd are really from Saarbrucken (where Corrosion was played and titled Libest Spacement Monitor on the album), it gives a good proof that in Hannover, a day before, the band did the same experimentation and in Saarbrucken they’ve just expanded this jam into a much longer version, what is very reasonable, at least for me.

          Now something about the quality. The brightness doesn’t mean better quality in some cases. Especially when we’re speaking about Japanese products, which are heavily EQ’d and much brickwalled, and exceptionally when listened thru cheap computer speakers instead of a high-quality gear. When I play EaP title louder, I find much more depth and ambience while the older tape transfer I got as gen (sorry guys but I sold out Sirene title many moons ago) sounds processed to me. I would kindly suggest you guys revisiting your opinion and study the subject more carefully before putting final verdict or just stop listening to the music for a while if you’re tired of it (as it looks like).

          Peace brothers!

          • Careful Axeman Eugene

            Well, this will be my final response in this particular thread, as I won’t have anything further to say after this, nor even read any further responses, as I don’t want to waste any more of my time here, but I’m still not totally wrong about what I said. First, you say that the Sirene release is actually from Hannover, then later you say that it isn’t, and there’s at least 1 other statement that’s contradictory to, or at least inconsistent with, another statement you made elsewhere, and there’s at least 1 point where it’s not even completely clear which concert you’re referring to.

            So whether the Sirene is from Hannover on the 27th or Hamburg on the 14th, there are at least 2 breaks in between songs or tracks, each likely on a different disc or at least well apart from each other in timing, where what Roger says is exactly identical to what I heard no less than 4 times each (as I played the entire “Trip Through Germany” exactly 4 times) on this new Eat a Peach release. Plus, I’m at least pretty sure that “Atom Heart Mother” is also the same on both the old Sirene & the new Eat, as I can hear somebody in the audience whistling along a couple minutes into it, as well as identical clapping or light applause approximately 4 & a half minutes in, on both releases.

            So I’m certain that at least a significant chunk of the show was released before by Sirene. As for the other tracks in question, I don’t have the time to check them all out & “investigate” whether or not they’re the same or different, but I was merely trying to warn others about “Trip Through Germany”. For me personally, what’s likely the best thing about it is just the very nice artwork & what I would likely consider to be a relatively minor upgrade in sound quality, and at least I was able to get it on eBay from a seller in Italy who apparently has very low prices.

            I’m plenty satisfied with all my other Eat a Peach CD releases, as well as approx. 85% to 90% of the many many other boot CD’s that I’ve collected for 20 years, except for the Roger Waters (& GE Smith) 2CD digipak “A Genius Portrait”, on which “Comfortably Numb”, which could have been the highlight or the most valuable track of the release, is actually just a tiny snippet (almost non-existent), but Eat a Peach chose not to indicate to anybody it as being such (a major disappointment).

            Finally, as for the ridiculous “constant complaining” remark/comment, that’s quite an exaggeration, such that I take it that I must be confused with somebody else here, as I haven’t complained significantly more than many, if not most, members here. In fact, I know of at least 2 members here who always seem to be complaining about Sigma & other Japanese or Lighthouse-related labels, which is very contradictory to so many of the excellent reviews of the late G. Sparaco, Plomerus, WGPSEC, Relayer67, etc., etc. Furthermore, there are probably at least a couple other things I could say, but I don’t want to continue rambling on.

            If I can share what I know with others here, then I will, whether it’s positive or negative or whatever else it could be, as I’m not afraid to say something negative as long as I’m not violating any rules here. So if anybody over-judgmentally laughs at me, as if the only mental skills I have are just judging boot CD’s and as if I’m some type of moron or idiot, then I could just as easily laugh back even harder at him or her, but I don’t care that much.

            Again, I’m completely finished with this particular thread.

          • That’s good because it’s hard to fill up the full vessel.

            For those, who are still interested in a comparison, I’ll happily share more details.

      • Being an avid Floyd collector i’m always interested in unreleased shows on silver , i own the ” Corrosion “title and i listened to it many times in the past, so i was intrigued by knowing that another show from that German tour was going to be released as i bought all Floyd titles on Sirene label and also from Eat a Peach ( leaving apart “Godfatherecords” :-) : an Hannover show was surely going to be a nice addition to my collection!
        After a first listening experience with this ” TRIP THROUGH GERMANY” i realised that something was to be fixed, were Sirene or Eat wrong? Well after some investigations on the net the answer is that Sirene did a mistake because used a mislabeled cassette for this release, not uncommon with an array of cassettes from those days heavily traded and changing hands sometimes in massive quantities.
        Once again Eat did a great job releasing a show with correct song order and CORRECT date, now we expect someone releasing the Hambug concert very soon so it will be great comparing these different shows

  2. Your comment comes across as churlish, and contrary to the spirit of the group.

    Thanks for the review, Relayer.

  3. Is this review translated Japanese? If this reviewer speaks English, he or she did not get past grade school judging by this review. Proofread for errors prior to posting a review. You can do better Collectors Music Review.

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