Synopsis by Mark Deming
While plenty of notable bands emerged from the Washington, D.C., punk scene in the late '70s and early '80s, the Bad Brains were truly unique. In a scene dominated by white kids, the Bad Brains were four African-American men who ditched jazz fusion for the direct energy of punk around the same time that they embraced the Rastafarian faith. Preaching a message of positivity and strength against long odds, the Bad Brains played hardcore punk at lightning speed and with clockwork precision, seasoned with the soulful groove of reggae and the muscular power of hard rock. Bad Brains Playing at the 1018 Club is a live recording of the band playing a gig in their adopted hometown of New York City in 1988 while they were still in peak form.