Stray Cats: Live At Rockpalast

Runaway boys’ live audiovisual output collated in Mitteleuropa.

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New York rockabilly trio the Stray Cats dressed like punks, posed like rock stars and played blues and R&B like it was 1956.

Somehow, they get away with it at these two German shows recorded in 1981 and ’83, largely because they play with total commitment and inhabit the 50s role as if they mean it.

Their fistful of hits – among which the expected Stray Cat Strut and Runaway Boys still sound fresh today – combine with a ton of rock’n’roll covers to convincing effect, captured in unexpectedly high quality on these recordings. That said, you don’t really need two whole DVDs and two bonus audio CDs of Stray Cats material to get the message: the songs were both simple and convincing, and don’t require repetition. What’s more, they’re still sporadically active, 35 years later: see them if you can.

Joel McIver is a British author. The best-known of his 25 books to date is the bestselling Justice For All: The Truth About Metallica, first published in 2004 and appearing in nine languages since then. McIver's other works include biographies of Black Sabbath, Slayer, Ice Cube and Queens Of The Stone Age. His writing also appears in newspapers and magazines such as The Guardian, Metal Hammer, Classic Rock and Rolling Stone, and he is a regular guest on music-related BBC and commercial radio.