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Barking Spiders

Bands you think were better before they got big

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Motorhead without Eddie Clark and Phil Taylor were never as good imho. The slight tongue in cheek attitude to some of their songs disappeared once they became "louder than everything else"

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9 hours ago, upside downer said:

Many will say Public Image Ltd never bettered their first two albums, `Public Image` and `Metal Box`, the latter is stunning. Maybe a slide down in quality since, although 1986s 'Album' is great, features Steve Vai and Ginger Baker. The revolving door of members started with various drummers on `Metal Box`. They've now had around 40 odd members. The current line-up are bloody fantastic live, mind you. 

I totally agree, Metal Box is my top album of all time.

Edited by Frank Blank
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Simple Minds and U2 spring to mind. The albums from both bands before they started playing stadiums had more urgency and were less overblown to my my ears, New Gold Dream/Sparkle In The Rain and Boy/War were high water marks for me.

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1 hour ago, Norris said:

Motorhead without Eddie Clark and Phil Taylor were never as good imho. The slight tongue in cheek attitude to some of their songs disappeared once they became "louder than everything else"

Def, the all time best Motorhead line up imo too.

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14 minutes ago, ezbass said:

Simple Minds and U2 spring to mind. The albums from both bands before they started playing stadiums had more urgency and were less overblown to my my ears, New Gold Dream/Sparkle In The Rain and Boy/War were high water marks for me.

Surely New Gold Dream and Sparkle in the Rain, were the stadium rock albums - they were the band's 5th and 6th and the Waterfront single was the one that broke them properly in the UK. They had most definitely left the experimental weirdness of their Arista albums behind them by then.

Same with U2 by the time of War they were playing Red Rocks. At the time that certainly counted as overblown and stadium (U2 may well have gone on to even greater live excess later)

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28 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

Surely New Gold Dream and Sparkle in the Rain, were the stadium rock albums - they were the band's 5th and 6th and the Waterfront single was the one that broke them properly in the UK. They had most definitely left the experimental weirdness of their Arista albums behind them by then.

Same with U2 by the time of War they were playing Red Rocks. At the time that certainly counted as overblown and stadium (U2 may well have gone on to even greater live excess later)

SM played venues like The Hammersmith on the SITR tour (a great gig, one of my favourites), I felt that it all got a bit bloated after Don't Forget About Me and Once Upon A Time. I'll concede that Red Rocks was a big gig, but they still had that raw edge for me. As ever, your and other folks' mileage may vary.

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How about Joy Division / New Order or Ultravox? A lot of people claim to prefer the earlier incarnations of these bands but record sales would seem to contradict that. I'm probably going to get a load of stick for this but personally I think I prefer New Order to Joy Division and as for Ultravox ... I'm going to sit on the fence with that one; Systems of Romance is a great album (as is John Foxx's The Garden that he recorded with Systems era guitarist Robin Simon) but so are Midge Ure era Vienna and Rage in Eden.

Edited by darkandrew

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10 hours ago, Frank Blank said:

I loved aThe Skids but despised Big Country and I’m always surprised that the latter are held in such high esteem, am I missing something?

Try The Armoury Show for how The Skids were improved later.

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16 hours ago, spongebob said:

Manic Street Preachers - pre-1995, before Richey Edwards went missing. Totally different band, lyrically and musically. Can't abide what they became 1996-onward....sold millions more records, but lost all of what made them different and great.

Blue Oyster Cult - Tricky one....first 3 'black and white' albums are sublime, post-'Reaper'.....some great stuff, but never the real consistent heights they reached on albums 2 and 3.

All IMHO of course.....😀

I was totally going to say the Manics... I loved them, and 'The Holy Bible' literally saved my life...! Now they're sort of a Welsh moanier Coldplay... *shudder*

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18 hours ago, Paul S said:

The Who spring to mind.  There was always something special about the Moon/ Entwistle pairing, at least to my ears.

I couldn't agree more - there were a few decent songs from the Kenney Jones era, and Endless Wire was considerably less terrible than a comeback album should traditionally be, but there was nothing to touch the original lineup, if you ask me.  But - with apologies for nitpicking over the original question - weren't they already pretty "big" by that point?

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16 hours ago, aguacollas said:

Santana. First three albums, Santana, Abraxas, Santana III have a great latin rock energy. 

Those first three albums are absolutely excellent...but I personally think they hit their peak with the fourth one, Caravanserai. Granted, some people view it as a descent into navel-gazing, prog-rock-style conceptualism, but then I'm someone who probably owns too many Camel albums for their own good...

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30 minutes ago, kusee pee said:

Try The Armoury Show for how The Skids were improved later.

I disliked The Armoury Show too, despite John McGeoch (one of my favourite guitarists) playing for them.

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3 hours ago, Norris said:

Motorhead without Eddie Clark and Phil Taylor were never as good imho. The slight tongue in cheek attitude to some of their songs disappeared once they became "louder than everything else"

I disagree. Yep, the classic lineup as it's know produced some belters but Campbell on guitar procuded some absolulte classics. The album Bastards is probably my favourite Motorhead album and believe me, I LOVE Motorhead.

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I'd sneak in original line up Roxy Music with Brian Eno - yes they hit the big time with that line up, but were even bigger later on playing (what was for me) pretty dull AOR without Eno's originality and quirkiness

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22 minutes ago, WHUFC BASS said:

I disagree. Yep, the classic lineup as it's know produced some belters but Campbell on guitar procuded some absolulte classics. The album Bastards is probably my favourite Motorhead album and believe me, I LOVE Motorhead.

I'll subtly disagree with the original statement too, while also disagreeing with you.  Can't say I love the Campbell albums (don't hate them, more that I'd never pick them to play over anything with Fast Eddie on it) but for me Another Perfect Day is up there with their best.  Love Robbo's guitar playing.  And while I'm not the greatest fan of the albums that Campbell's on, I've never seen him play a bad show (and I've seen a lot of them).

Actually, Metallica are similar - can't say I like any of the albums they've released in the last 20-odd years, but they've always been brilliant live

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12 minutes ago, Monkey Steve said:

I'll subtly disagree with the original statement too, while also disagreeing with you.  Can't say I love the Campbell albums (don't hate them, more that I'd never pick them to play over anything with Fast Eddie on it) but for me Another Perfect Day is up there with their best.  Love Robbo's guitar playing.  And while I'm not the greatest fan of the albums that Campbell's on, I've never seen him play a bad show (and I've seen a lot of them).

Actually, Metallica are similar - can't say I like any of the albums they've released in the last 20-odd years, but they've always been brilliant live

Fair enough. That's the good thing about the band, everyone has an opinion on them. Either way, I love all the Motorhead back catalogue, even the On Parole album as I think their attitude (or more accurately, Lemmy's) never changed in all the years they were active, which for me, shone through in the music.

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On 18/12/2018 at 12:33, Shaggy said:

I think the OP meant only in terms of band line-up changes?   In which case if the The Skids were the mark 1 Big Country, I'd include them.

Big Country were in no way Skids v2; there was certainly provenance through Stuart Adamson, but this was a wholly new band.

The Crossing was a great album, truly wonderful and I'd happily put on record it's a more complete record than anything Skids put out.  Steeltown lacked the consistency of the first album, by the time The Seer came out I'd moved on.

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I liked them before they were famous. 

Isn't it just broadly the case that 

a) we all feel like this about music we liked before others (whilst it was 'ours') 

b) great bands knock out 3-4 winning albums but the consistency inevitably slides. 

Best thing a great band can do for long standing critical acclaim is implode after a handful of albums. 

Reverse of this thread would be interesting - great bands with crap first albums. Radiohead, Slayer and Orbital spring to mind. 

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29 minutes ago, Drax said:

Reverse of this thread would be interesting - great bands with crap first albums. Radiohead, Slayer and Orbital spring to mind. 

Whilst not actually a crap first album as such, for my money It Bites' debut 'The Big Lad In The Windmill' is not a patch on their masterpiece second album 'Once Around The World'. This for me was their finest hour by a long, long way. 'Eat Me In St Louis' was hmmm okay, and nothing they've done since Dunnery left has been as good either, despite the presence of the godlike John Mitchell at the front. Some of Frank Dunnery's solo stuff has been okay, but I find it hard to listen to since he turned into a complete prick on Farcebook.

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39 minutes ago, NancyJohnson said:

Big Country were in no way Skids v2; there was certainly provenance through Stuart Adamson, but this was a wholly new band.

The Crossing was a great album, truly wonderful and I'd happily put on record it's a more complete record than anything Skids put out.  Steeltown lacked the consistency of the first album, by the time The Seer came out I'd moved on.

Happy to concede that your first sentence is correct, which is why my quoted comment was qualified by an '"if" 

This thread very unsurprisingly shows that it's all down to opinion, and so entirely subjective.   Personally, I prefer the later and more successful lineups of Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, and Fleetwood Mac.  Japan were utterly dire before "Quiet Life".   I loved The Skids (saw them live), but personally found Big Country rather uninspired and uninspiring.  However I respect that your opinion is different. 

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On ‎18‎/‎12‎/‎2018 at 13:49, kusee pee said:

Simple Minds from 1979 to 1983 were phenomenally creative. Less so when they got big. Their early years were mighty in so many ways.

 

 

I'm in two minds about this as I am a massive Simple Minds fan and I love some of the later stuff. Sparkle in the Rain and Once Upon a Time were mega albums and I would say Street Fighting Years is a close second to New Gold Dream in being my favorite SM album. I actually think SM went crap when they lost Michael McNeil. The stuff they have done without him has been dull. Losing Derek Forbes on bass was a bit impact but the bass players that replaced him, John Giblin and Malcolm Foster were both great players and still added an original spin on the music. Even losing Mel Gaynor on drums didn't really make that much difference. Saying that though, early SM is mighty.

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1 hour ago, Jono Bolton said:

Biffy Clyro.

I was waiting for someone to say this... Blackened Sky was a great album, i think it was all down hill from there.

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